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Satan's Diary 



SATAN'S DIARY 



BY 

LEONID ANDREYEV 



Authorized Translation 

WITH A PREFACE BY 

HERMAN BERNSTEIN 



BONI AND LIVERIGHT 

PUBLISHERS NEW YORK 



COPYRIGHT, 1920, BT 
BONI & LIVERIGHT, INC. 




B 

/ 

8 9 fl ? 1 1 



Printed in (As t/ntted Sfotej o/ America 



PREFACE 

SATAN'S DIARY," Leonid Andreyev's last 
work, was completed by the great Russian a 
few days before lie died in Finland, in Sep- 
tember, 1919. But a few years ago the most pop- 
ular and successful of Russian writers, Andreyev 
died almost penniless, a sad, tragic figure, disil- 
lusioned, broken-hearted over the tragedy of 
Russia. 

A year ago Leonid Andreyev wrote me that he 
was eager to come to America, to study this coun- 
try and familiarize Americans with the fate of his 
unfortunate countrymen. I arranged for his visit 
to this country and informed him of this by cable. 
But on the very day I sent my cable the sad news 
came from Finland announcing that Leonid An- 
dreyev died of heart failure. 

In " Satan's Diary" Andreyev summed up his 
boundless disillusionment in an absorbing satire 
on human life. Fearlessly and mercilessly he 
hurled the falsehoods and hypocrisies into the 
face of life. He portrayed Satan coming to this 
earth to amuse himself and play. Having as- 
sumed the form of an American multi-millionaire, 
Satan set out on a tour through Europe in quest 
of amusement and adventure. Before him passed 
various forms of spurious virtues, hypocrisies, 



Preface 

the ruthless cruelty of man and the often deceptive 
innocence of woman. Within a short time Satan 
finds himself outwitted, deceived, relieved of his 
millions, mocked, humiliated, beaten by man in his 
own devilish devices. 

The story of Andreyev's beginning as a writer 
is best told in his autobiography which he gave 
me in 1908. 

"I was bora," he said, "in Oryol, in 1871, and 
studied there at the gymnasium. I studied poor- 
ly; while in the seventh class I was for a whole 
year known as the worst student, and my mark 
for conduct was never higher than 4, sometimes 3. 
The most pleasant time I spent at school, which 
I recall to this day with pleasure, was recess time 
between lessons, and also the rare occasions when 
I was sent out from the classroom. . . . The sun- 
beams, the free sunbeams, which penetrated some 
cleft and which played with the dust in the hall- 
way all this was so mysterious, so interesting, so 
full of a peculiar, hidden meaning. 

"When I studied at the gymnasium my father, 
an engineer, died. As a university student I was 
in dire need. During my first course in St. Peters- 
burg I even starved not so much out of real ne- 
cessity as because of my youth, inexperience, and 
my inability to utilize the unnecessary parts of 
my costume. I am to this day ashamed to think 
that I went two days without food at a time when 
I had two or three pairs of trousers and two over- 
coats which I could have sold. 

vi 



Preface 

"It was then that I wrote my first story about 
a starving student. I cried when I wrote it, and 
the editor, who returned my manuscript, laughed. 
That story of mine remained unpublished. . . . 
In 1894, in January, I made an unsuccessful at- 
tempt to kill myself by shooting. As a result of 
this unsuccessful attempt I was forced by the au- 
thorities into religious penitence, and I contracted 
heart trouble, though not of a serious nature, yet 
very annoying. During this time I made one or 
two unsuccessful attempts at writing; I devoted 
myself with greater pleasure and success to paint- 
ing, which I loved from childhood on. I made por- 
traits to order at 3 and 5 rubles a piece. 

"In 1897 I received my diploma and became an 
assistant attorney, but I was at the very outset 
sidetracked. I was offered a position on The 
Courier, for which I was to report court proceed- 
ings. I did not succeed in getting any practice 
as a lawyer. I had only one case and lost it at 
every point. 

' ' In 1898 I wrote my first story for the Easter 
number and since that time I have devoted my- 
self exclusively to literature. Maxim Gorky 
helped me considerably in my literary work by 
his always practical advice and suggestions. " 

Andreyev's first steps in literature, his first 
short stories, attracted but little attention at the 
time of their appearance. It was only when Coun- 
tess Tolstoy, the wife of Leo Tolstoy, in a letter 
to the Novoye Vremya, came out in "defense of 
artistic purity and moral power in contemporary 

vii 



Preface 

literature," declaring that Bussian society, in- 
stead of buying, reading and making famous the 
works of the Andreyevs, should "rise against 
such filth with indignation, " that almost every- 
body who knew how to read in Russia turned to 
the little volume of the young writer. 

In her attack upon Andreyev, Countess Tolstoy 
said as follows: 

"The poor new writers, like Andreyev, suc- 
ceeded only in concentrating their attention on the 
filthy point of human degradation and uttered a 
cry to the undeveloped, half-intelligent reading 
public, inviting them to see and to examine the 
decomposed corpse of human degradation and to 
close their eyes to God's wonderful, vast world, 
with the beauties of nature, with the majesty of 
art, with the lofty yearnings of the human soul, 
with the religious and moral struggles and the 
great ideals of goodness even with the down- 
fall, misfortunes and weaknesses of such people 
as Dostoyevsky depicted. ... In describing all 
these every true artist should illumine clearly be- 
fore humanity not the side of filth and vice, but 
should struggle against them by illumining the 
highest ideals of good, truth, and the triumph over 
evil, weakness, and the vices of mankind. ... I 
should like to cry out loudly to the whole world 
in order to help those unfortunate people whose 
wings, given to each of them for high flights to- 
ward the understanding of the spiritual light, 
beauty, kindness, and God, are clipped by these 
Andreyevs." 

viii 



Preface 

This letter of Countess Tolstoy called forth a 
storm of protest in the Russian press, and, strange 
to say, the representatives of the fair sex were 
among the warmest defenders of the young au- 
thor. Answering the attack, many women, in 
their letters to the press, pointed out that the 
author of "Anna Karenina" had been abused in 
almost the same manner for his "Kreutzer Son- 
ata," and that Tolstoy himself had been accused 
of exerting just such an influence as the Countess 
attributed to Andreyev over the youth of Russia. 
Since the publication of Countess Tolstoy's con- 
demnation, Andreyev has produced a series of 
masterpieces, such as "The Life of Father Vas- 
sily," a powerful psychological study; "Bed 
Laughter," a war story, "written with the blood 
of Russia"; "The Life of Man," a striking mo- 
rality presentation in five acts; "Anathema," his 
greatest drama, and "The Seven Who Were 
Hanged," in which the horrors of Russian life 
under the Tsar were delineated with such beau- 
tiful simplicity and power that Turgenev, or Tol- 
stoy himself, would have signed his name to this 
masterpiece. 

Thus the first accusations against Andreyev 
were disarmed by his artistic productions, per- 
meated with sincere, profound love for all that i$ 
pure in life. Dostoyevsky and Maupassant de- 
picted more subjects, such as that treated in ' * The 
Abyss," than Andreyev. But with them these 
stories are lost in the great mass of their other 
works, while in Andreyev, who at that time had 

ix 



Preface 

as yet produced but a few short stories, works 
like "The Abyss" stood out in bold relief. 

I recall my first meeting with Leonid Andreyev 
in 1908, two weeks after my visit to Count Leo 
Tolstoy at Yasnaya Polyana. At that time he had 
already become the most popular Russian writer, 
his popularity having overshadowed even that of 
Maxim Gorky. 

As I drove from Terioki to Andreyev's house, 
along the dust-covered road, the stern and taciturn 
little Finnish driver suddenly broke the silence 
by saying to me in broken Russian : 

" Andreyev is a good writer. . . . Although he 
is a Russian, he is a very good man. He is build- 
ing a beautiful house here in Finland, and he 
gives employment to many of our people. " 

We were soon at the gate of Andreyev's beau- 
tiful villa a fantastic structure, weird-looking, 
original in design, something like the conception 
of the architect in the "Life of Man." 

"My son is out rowing with his wife in the 
Gulf of Finland," Andreyev's mother told me. 
"They will be back in half an hour." 

As I waited I watched the seething activity 
everywhere on Andreyev's estate. In Yasnaya 
Polyana, the home of Count Tolstoy, everything 
seemed long established, fixed, well-regulated, se- 
renely beautiful. Andreyev's estate was astir 
with vigorous life. Young, strong men were 
building the House of Man. More than thirty of 
them were working on the roof and in the yard, 
and a little distance away, in the meadows, young 
women and girls, bright-eyed and red faced, were 



Preface 

haying. Youth, strength, vigor everywhere, and 
above all the ringing laughter of little children 
at play. I could see from the window the " Black 
Little River," which sparkled in the sun hundreds 
of feet below. The constant noise of the work- 
men's axes and hammers was so loud that I did 
not notice when Leonid Andreyev entered the 
room where I was waiting for him. 

" Pardon my manner of dressing," he said, as 
we shook hands. "In the summer I lead a lazy 
life, and do not write a line. I am afraid I am 
forgetting even to sign my name." 

I had seen numerous photographs of Leonid 
Andreyev, but he did not look like any of them. 
Instead of a pale-faced, sickly-looking young man, 
there stood before me a strong, handsome, well- 
built man, with wonderful eyes. He wore a gray- 
ish blouse, black, wide pantaloons up to his knees, 
and no shoes or stockings. 

We soon spoke of Russian literature at the time, 
particularly of the drama. 

"We have no real drama in Russia," said An- 
dreyev. "Russia has not yet produced anything 
that could justly be called a great drama. Per- 
haps "The Storm, ' by Ostrovsky, is the only Rus- 
sian play that may be classed as a drama. Tol- 
stoy's plays cannot be placed in this category. 
Of the later writers, Anton Chekhov came nearest 
to giving real dramas to Russia, but, unfortu- 
nately, he was taken from us in the prime of hia 
life." 

"What do you consider your own 'Life of Man* 
and 'To the Stars'?" I asked. 



Preface 

"They are not dramas; they are merely pre- 
sentations in so many acts," answered Andreyev, 
and, after some hesitation, added: "I have not 
written any dramas, but it is possible that I will 
write one." At this point Andreyev's wife came 
in, dressed in a Eussian blouse. The conversa- 
tion turned to America, and to the treatment ac- 
corded to Maxim Gorky in New York. 

"When I was a child I loved America," re- 
marked Andreyev. "Perhaps Cooper and Mayne 
Eeid, my favorite authors in my childhood days, 
were responsible for this. I was always planning 
to run away to America, I am anxious even now 
to visit America, but I am afraid I may get as 
bad a reception as my friend Gorky got." 

He laughed as he glanced at his wife. After a 
brief pause, he said : 

"The most remarkable thing about the Gorky 
incidentvis that while in his stories and articles 
about America Gorky wrote nothing but the very 
worst that could be said about thai country he 
never told me anything but the very best about 
America. Some day he will probably describe 
his impressions of America as he related them 
to me." 

It was a very warm day. The sun was burning 
mercilessly in the large room. Mme. Andreyev 
suggested that it would be more pleasant to go 
down to a shady place near the Black Little Eiver. 

On the way down the hill Andreyev inquired 
about Tolstoy's health and was eager to know 
his views on contemporary matters. 

xii 



Preface 

"If Tolstoy were young now he would have 
been with us," he said. 

We stepped into a boat, Mme. Andreyev took up 
the oars and began to row. We resumed our con- 
versation. 

"The decadent movement in Russian litera- 
ture/' said Andreyev, "started to make itself felt 
about ten or fifteen years ago. At first it was 
looked upon as mere child's play, as a curiosity. 
Now it is regarded more seriously. Although I 
do not belong to that school, I do not consider 
it worthless. The fault with it is that it has but 
few talented people in its ranks, and these few 
direct the criticism of the decadent school. They 
are the writers and also the critics. And they 
praise whatever they write. Of the younger men, 
Alexander Blok is perhaps the most gifted. But 
in Russia our clothes change quickly nowadays, 
and it is hard to tell what the future will tell us 
in our literature and our life. 

"How do I picture to myself this future!" con- 
tinued Andreyev, in answer to a question of mine. 
"I cannot know even the fate and future of my 
own child ; how can I foretell the future of such a 
great country as Russia? But I believe that the 
Russian people have a great future before them 
in life and in literature for they are a great 
people, rich in talents, kind and freedom-loving. 
Savage as yet, it is true, very ignorant, but on the 
whole they do not differ so much from other Euro- 
pean nations." 

Suddenly the author of "Red Laughter" looked 
upon me intently, and asked : "How is it that the 

xiii 



Preface 

European and the American press has ceased to 
interest itself in our struggle for emancipation! 
Is it possible that the reaction in Russia appeals 
to them more than our people's yearnings for 
freedom, simply because the reaction happens to 
be stronger at the present time? In that event, 
they are probably sympathizing with the Shah of 
Persia ! Eussia to-day is a lunatic asylum. The 
people who are hanged are not the people who 
should be hanged. Everywhere else honest peo- 

Ele are at large and only criminals are in prison, 
a Russia the honest people are in prison and the 
criminals are at large. The Russian Government 
is composed of a band of criminals, and Nicholas 
II is not the greatest of them. There are still 
greater ones. I do not hold that the Russian Gov- 
ernment alone is guilty of these horrors. The Eu- 
ropean nations and the Americans are just as 
much to blame, for they look on in silence while 
the most despicable crimes are committed. The 
murderer usually has at least courage, while he 
who looks on silently when murder is committed 
is a contemptible weakling. England and France, 
who have become so friendly to our Government, 
are surely watching with compassion the poor 
Shah, who hangs the constitutional leaders. Per- 
haps I do not know international law. Perhaps 
I am not speaking as a practical man. One na- 
tion must not interfere with the internal affairs 
of another nation. But why do they interfere with 
our movement for freedom? France helped the 
Russian Government in its war against the peo- 
ple by giving money to Russia. Germany also 

xiv 



Preface 

helped secretly. In well-regulated countries 
each individual must behave decently. When a 
man murders, robs, dishonors women he is thrown 
into prison. But when the Russian Government is 
murdering helpless men and women and children 
the other Governments look on indifferently. And 
yet they speak of God. If this had happened in 
the Middle Ages a crusade would have been start- 
ed by civilized peoples who would have marched 
to Russia to free the women and the children 
from the claws of the Government." 

Andreyev became silent. His wife kept rowing 
for some time slowly, without saying a word. We 
soon reached the shore and returned silently to 
the house. That was twelve years ago. 

I met him several times after that. The last 
time I visited him in Petrograd during the July 
riots in 1917, 

A literary friend thus describes the funeral of 
Leonid Andreyev, which gives a picture of the 
tragedy of Russia: 

"In the morning a decision had to be reached 
as to the day of the funeral. It was necessary 
to see to the purchase and the delivery of the 
coffin from Viborg, and to undertake all those un- 
avoidable, hard duties which are so painful to the 
family. 

"It appeared that the Russian exiles living in 
pur village had no permits from the Finnish Gov- 
ernment to go to Viborg, nor the money for that 
. expense. It further appeared that the family of 
Leonid Andreyev had left at their disposal only 

xv 



Preface 

one hundred marks (about 6 dollars), which the 
doctor who had come from the station after An- 
dreyev's death declined to take from the widow 
for his visit. 

"This was all the family possessed. It was 
necessary to charge a Eussian exile living in a 
neighboring village, who had a pass for Viborg, 
with the sad commission of finding among some 
wealthy people in Viborg who had known Andre- 
yev the means required for the funeral. 

"On the following day mass was read. Floral 
tributes and wreaths from Viborg, with black in- 
scriptions made hastily in ink on white ribbons, 
began to arrive. They were all from private in- 
dividuals. The local refugees brought garlands 
of autumn foliage, bouquets of late flowers. Their 
children laid their carefully woven, simple and 
touching little childish wreaths at the foot of the 
coffin. Leonid Andreyev's widow did not wish 
to inter the body in foreign soil and it was de- 
cided, temporarily, until burial in native ground, 
to leave his body in the little mortuary in the 
park on the estate of a local woman landowner. 

' * The day of the funeral was not widely known. 
The need for special permits to travel deprived 
many of the opportunity to attend. In this way 
it happened that only a very small group of peo- 
ple followed the body from the house to the mor- 
tuary. None of his close friends was there. They, 
like his brothers, sister, one of his sons, were in 
Eussia. Neighbors, refugees, acquaintances of 
the last two years with whom his exile had ac- 
cidentally thrown him into contact, people who 

xvi 



Preface 

had no connection with Eussian literature, al- 
most all alien in spirit such was the little group 
of Russians that followed the coffin of Leonid 
Andreyev to its temporary resting place. 

"It was a tragic funeral, this funeral in exile, 
of a writer who is so dearly loved by the whole 
intellectual class of Russia; whom the younger 
generation of Russia acclaimed with such enthu- 
siasm. 

"Meanwhile he rests in a foreign land, waiting 
waiting for Free Russia to demand back his 
ashes, and pay tribute to his genius/' 

Among his last notes, breathing deep anguish 
and despair, found on his desk, were the follow- 
ing lines : 

" Revolution is just as unsatisfactory a means 
of settling disputes as is war. If it be impossible 
to vanquish a hostile idea except by smashing the 
skull in which it is contained; if it be impossible 
to appease a hostile heart except by piercing it 
with a bayonet, then, of course, fight. . . ." 

Leonid Andreyev died of a broken heart. But 
the spirit of his genius is deathless. 

HEBMAN BEKNSTEIN. 
New York, September. 



xvii 



Satan's Diary 



SATAN'S DIARY 

January 18. 
On board the Atlantic. 

fT^HIS is exactly the tenth day since I have be- 
come human and am leading this earthly 
life. 

My loneliness is very great. I am not in need 
of friends, but I must speak of Myself and I have 
no one to speak to. Thoughts alone are not suf- 
ficient, and they will not become quite clear, pre- 
cise and exact until I express them in words. It 
is necessary to arrange them in a row, like sol- 
diers or telephone poles, to lay them out like a 
railway track, to throw across bridges and via- 
ducts, to construct barrows and enclosures, to 
indicate stations in certain places and only then 
will everything become clear. This laborious 
engineering work, I think, they call logic and con- 
sistency, and is essential to those who desire to 
~be wise. It is not essential to all others. They 
may wander about as they please. 

The work is slow, difficult and repulsive for one 

1 



Satan's Diary 

who is accustomed to I do not know what to call 
it to embracing all in one breath and expressing 
all in a single breath. It is not in vain that men re- 
spect their thinkers so much, and it is not in vain 
that these unfortunate thinkers, if they are honest 
and conscientious in this process of construction, 
as ordinary engineers, end in insane asylums. I 
am but a few days on this earth and more than 
once have the yellow walls of the insane asylum 
and its luring open door flashed before my eyes. 
Yes, it is extremely difficult and irritates one's 
' ' nerves. ' ' I have just now wasted so much of the 
ship's fine stationery to express a little ordinary 
thought on the inadequacy of man's words and 
logic. What will it be necessary to waste to give 
expression to the great and the unusual? I want 
to warn you, my earthly reader, at the very out- 
set, not to gape in astonishment. The extraordin~ 
ary ccmnot be expressed in the language of your 
grumbling. If you do not believe me, go to the 
nearest insane asylum and listen to the inmates : 
they have all realized Something and wanted to 
give expression to it. And now you can hear the 
roar and rumble of these wrecked engines, their 
wheels revolving and hissing in the air, and you 
can see with what difficulty -they manage to hold 
intact the rapidly dissolving features of their as- 
tonished faces I 

2 



Satan's Diary 

I see yon are all ready to ply me with, questions, 
now that you learned that I am Satan in human 
form: it is so fascinating! Whence did I cornel 
What are the ways of Hell? Is there immortality 
there, and, also, what is the price of coal at the 
stock exchange of Hell? Unfortunately, my dear 
reader, despite my desire to the contrary, if I had 
such a desire, I am powerless to satisfy your very 
proper curiosity. I could have composed for your 
benefit one of those funny little stories about 
horny and hairy devils, which appeal so much to 
your meagre imagination, but you have had 
enough of them already and I do not want to lie 
so rudely and ungracefully. I will lie to you else- 
where, when you least expect it, and that will be 
far more interesting for both of us. 

And the truth how am I to tell it when even 
my Name cannot be expressed in your tongue? 
You have called me Satan and I accept the name, 
just as I would have accepted any other : Be it so 
I am Satan. But my real name sounds quite dif- 
ferent, quite different! It has an extraordinary 
sound and try as I may I cannot force it into your 
narrow ear without tearing it open together with 
your brain : Be it so I am Satan. And nothing 
more. 

And you yourself are to blame for this, my 
friend: why is there so little understanding in 

3 



Satan's Diary 

your reaspnf Your reason is like a beggar's sack, 
containing only crusts of stale bread, while it is 
necessary to have something more than bread. 
You have but two conceptions of existence: life 
and death. How, then, can I reveal to you the 
third? All your existence is an absurdity only be- 
cause you do not have this third conception. And 
where can I get it for you? To-day I am human, 
even as you. In my skull is your brain. In my 
mouth are your cubic words, jostling one another 
about with their sharp corners, and I cannot tell 
you of the Extraordinary. 

If I were to tell you that there are no devils I 
would lie. But if I say that such creatures do 
exist I also deceive you. You see how difficult it 
is, how absurd, my friend! 

I can also tell you but little that you would un- 
derstand of how I assumed the human form, with 
which I began my earthly life ten days ago. First 
of all, forget about your favorite, hairy, horny, 
winged devils, who breathe fire, transform frag- 
ments of earthenware into gold and change old 
men into fascinating youths, and having done all 
this and prattled much nonsense, they disappear 
suddenly through a wall. Eemember: when we, 
want to visit your earth we must always become 
human. Why this is so you will learn after your 
death. Meanwhile remember: I am a human 

4 



Satan's Diary 

being now like yourself. There is not the foul 
smell of a goat about me but the fragrance of per- 
fume, and you need not fear to shake My hand lest 
I may scratch you with my nails : I manicure them 
just as you do. 

But how did it all happen? Very simply. 
When I first conceived the desire to visit this 
earth I selected as the most satisfactory lodg- 
ing a 38-year-old American billionaire, Mr. 
Henry Wondergood. I killed him at night, of 
course, not in the presence of witnesses. But you 
cannot bring me to court despite this confession, 
because the American is ALIVE, and we both 
greet you with one respectful bow : I and Wonder- 
good. He simply rented his empty place to me. 
You understand? And not all of it either, the 
devil take him! And, to my great regret I can 
return only through the same door which leads 
you too to liberty : through death. 

This is the most important thing. You may un- 
derstand something of what I may have to say 
later on, although to speak to you of such mat- 
ters in your language is like trying to conceal a 
mountain in a vest pocket or to empty Niagara 
with a thimble. Imagine, for example, that you, 
my dear King of Nature, should want to come 
closer to the ants, and that by some miracle you 
became a real little ant, then you may have some 

5 



Satan's Diary 

conception of that gulf which separates Me now 
from what I was. No, still more ! Imagine that 
yon were a sound and have become a mere symbol 
a musical mark on paper. . . . No, still worse ! 
No comparisons can make clear to you that ter- 
rible gulf whose bottom even I do not see as yet. 
Or, perhaps, there is no bottom there at all. 

Think of it: for two days, after leaving New 
York, I suffered from seasickness! This sounds 
queer to you, who are accustomed to wallow in 
your own dirt? Well, I I have also wallowed in 
it but it was not queer at all. I only smiled once 
in thinking that it was not I, but Wondergood, 
and said : 

"Boll on, Wondergood, roll on!" 

There is another question to which you prob- 
ably want an answer: Why did I come to this 
earth and accept such an unprofitable exchange: 
to be transformed from Satan, "the mighty, im- 
mortal chieftain and ruler" into you? I am tired 
of seeking words that cannot be found. I will 
answer you in English, French, Italian or German 
languages we both understand well. I have 
grown lonesome in Hell and I have come upon the 
earth to lie and play. 

You know what ennui is. And as for falsehood, 
you know it well too. And as for play you can 
judge it to a certain extent by your own theaters 

6 



Satan's Diary 

and celebrated actors. Perhaps you yourself are 
playing a little role in Parliament, at home, or in 
your church. If you are, you may understand 
something of the satisfaction of play. And, if 
in addition, you are familiar with the multipli- 
cation table, then multiply the delight and joy of 
play into any considerable figure and you will get 
an idea of My enjoyment, of My play. No, imag- 
ine that you are an ocean wave, which plays eter- 
nally and lives only in play take this wave, for 
example, which I see outside the porthole now and 
which wants to lift our " Atlantic " . . . but, here 
I am again seeking words and comparisons! 

I simply want to play. At present I am still 
an unknown actor, a modest debutante, but I hope 
to become no less a celebrity than your own Gar- 
rick or Aldrich, after I have played what I please. 
I am proud, selfish and even, if you please, vain 
and boastful. You know what vanity is, when you 
crave the praise and plaudits even of a fool? 
Then I entertain the brazen idea that I am a 
genius. Satan is known for his brazenness. And 
so, imagine, that I have grown weary of Hell 
where all these hairy and horny rogues play and 
lie no worse than I do, and that I am no longer 
satisfied with the laurels of Hell, in which I but 
perceive no small measure of base flattery and 
downright stupidity. But I have beard of you, 

7 



Satan's Diary 

my earthly friend ; I have heard that you are wise, 
tolerably honest, properly incredulous, respon- 
sive to the problems of eternal art and that you 
yourself play and lie so badly that you might ap- 
preciate the playing of others : not in vain have 
you so many great actors. And so I have come. 
You understand? 

My stage is the earth and the nearest scene for 
which I am now bound is Eome, the Eternal City, 
as it is called here, in your profound conception 
of eternity and other simple matters. I have not 
yet selected my company (would you not like to 
join it?). But I believe that Fate and Chance, 
to whom I am now subservient, like all your 
earthly things, will realize my unselfish motives 
and will send me worthy partners. Old Europe is 
so rich in talents ! I believe that I shall find a keen 
and appreciative audience in Europe, too. I con- 
fess that I first thought of going to the East, which 
some of my compatriots made their scene of ac- 
tivity some time ago with no small measure of suc- 
cess, but the East is too credulous and is inclined 
too much to poison and the ballet. Its gods are 
ludicrous. The East still reeks too much of hairy 
animals. Its lights and shadows are barbarously 
crude and too bright to make it worth while for a 
refined artist as I am to go into that crowded, foul 
circus tent. Ah, my friend, I am so vain that I 

8 



Satan's Diary 

even begin this Dairy not without the secret in- 
tention of impressing you with my modesty in the 
role of seeker of words and comparisons. I 
hope you will not take advantage of my frankness 
and cease believing me. 

Are there any other questions? Of the play it- 
self I have no clear idea yet. It will be composed 
by the same impresario who will assemble the 
actors Fate. My modest role, as a beginning, 
will be that of a man who so loves his fellow 
beings that he is willing to give them everything, 
his soul and his money. Of course, you have not 
forgotten that I am a billionaire? I have three 
billion dollars. Sufficient is it not? for one 
spectacular performance. One more detail before 
I conclude this page. 

I have with me, sharing my fate, a certain Ir- 
win Toppi, my secretary, a most worthy person 
in his black frock coat and silk top hat, his long 
nose resembling an unripened pear and his 
smoothly shaven, pastor-like face. I would not 
be surprised to find a prayer book in his pocket. 
My Toppi came upon this earth from there, i.e. 
from Hell and by the same means as mine : he, too, 
assumed the human form and, it seems, quite suc- 
cessfully the rogue is entirely immune from sea- 
sickness. However to be seasick one must have 
some brains and my Toppi is unusually stupid * 

9 



Satan's Diary 

even for this earth. Besides, he is impolite and 
ventures to offer advice. I am rather sorry that 
out of our entire wealth of material I did not 
select some one better, but I was impressed by 
his honesty and partial familiarity with the 
earth : it seemed more pleasant to enter upon this 
little jaunt with an experienced comrade. Quite 
a long time ago he once before assumed the human 
form and was so taken by religious sentiments 
that think of it ! he entered a Franciscan mon- 
astery, lived there to a ripe old age and died 
peacefully under the name of Brother Vincent. 
His ashes became the object of veneration for be- 
lievers not a bad career for a fool of a devil. No 
sooner did he enter upon this trip with Me than 
he began to sniff about for incense an incurable 
habit ! You will probably like him. 

And now enough. Get thee hence, my friend. 
I wish to be alone. Your shallow reflection upon 
this wall wears upon me. I wish to be alone or 
only with this "Wondergood who has leased his 
abode to Me and seems to have gotten the best 
of Me somehow or other. The sea is calm. I am 
no longer nauseated but I am afraid of something. 
I am afraid ! I fear this darkness which they call 
night and descends upon the ocean: here, in the 
cabin there is still some light, but there, on deck, 
there is terrible darkness, and My eyes are 

10 



Satan's Diary 

quite helpless. These silly reflectors they are 
worthless. They are able to reflect things by day 
but in the darkness they lose even this miserable 
power. Of course I shall get used to the dark- 
ness. I have already grown used to many things. 
But just now I am ill at ease and it is horrible to 
think that the mere turn of a key obsesses me with 
this blind ever present darkness. Whence does it 
come? 

And how brave men are with their dim reflec- 
tors : they see nothing and simply say : it is dark 
here, we must make a light! Then they them- 
selves put it out and go to sleep. I regard these 
braves with a kind of cold wonder and I am 
seized with admiration. Or must one possess a 
great mind to appreciate horror, like Mine! You 
are not such a coward, Wondergood, You always 
bore the reputation of being a hardened man and 
a man of experience ! 

There is one moment in the process of my as- 
sumption of the human form that I cannot recol- 
lect without horror. That was when for the first 
time I heard the beating of My heart. This regu- 
lar, loud, metronome-like sound, which speaks as 
much of death as of life, filled me with the hitherto 
inexperienced sensation of horror. Men are al- 
ways quarrelling about accounts, but how can 
they carry in their breasts this counting ma- 
ll 



Satan's Diary 

chine, registering with the speed of a magician 
the fleeting seconds of life ! 

At first I wanted to shout and to run back below, 
before I could grow accustomed to life, but here I 
looked at Toppi: this new-born fool was calmly 
brushing his top hat with the sleeve of his frock 
coat. I broke out into laughter and cried: 

1 1 Toppi, the brush I" 

We both brushed ourselves while the counting 
machine in my breast was computing the seconds 
and, it seemed to me, adding on a few for good 
measure. Finally, hearing its brazen beating, I 
thought I might not have time enough to finish 
my toillette. I have been in a great hurry for 
some time. Just what it was I would not be able 
to complete I did not know, but for two days I was 
in a mad rush to eat and drink and even sleep: 
the counting machine was beating away while I 
lay in slumber! 

But I never rush now. I know that I will man- 
age to get through and my moments seem inex- 
haustible. But the little machine keeps on beat- 
ing just the same, like a drunken soldier at a drum. 
And how about the very moments it is using up 
now. Are they to be counted as equal to the 
great ones? Then I say it is all a fraud and I 
protest as a honest citizen of the United States 
and as a merchant. 

12 



Satan's Diary 

I do not feel well. Yet I would not repulse even 
a friend at this moment. Ah ! In all the universe 
I am alone ! 

February 7, 1914. 
Borne, Hotel "Internationale." 

I am driven mad whenever I am compelled to 
seize the club of a policeman to bring order in my 
brain: facts, to the right! thoughts, to the left! 
moods, to the rear clear the road for His High- 
ness, Conscience, which barely moves about upon 
its stilts. I am compelled to do this : otherwise 
there would be a riot, an abrecadebra, chaos. And 
so I call you to order, gentleman facts and lady- 
thoughts. I begin. 

Night. Darkness. The air is balmy. There is 
a pleasant fragrance. Toppi is enchanted. We 
are in Italy. Our speeding train is approaching 
Eome. We are enjoying our soft couches when, 
suddenly, crash! Everything flies to the devil: 
the train has gone out of its mind. It is wrecked. 
I confess without shame that I am not very 
brave, that I was seized with terror and seemed 
to have lost consciousness. The lights were extin- 
guished and with much labor I crawled out of the 
corner into which I had been hurled. I seemed 
to have forgotten the exit. There were only walls 
and corners. I felt something stinging and beat- 

13 



ISatan's Diary 

ing at Me, and all about nothing but darkness. 
Suddenly I felt a body beneath my feet. I stepped 
right upon the face. Only afterwards did I dis- 
cover that the body was that of George, my lackey, 
killed outright. I shouted and my obliging Toppi 
came to my aid : he seized me by the arm and led 
me to an open window, as both exits had been bar- 
ricaded by fragments of the car and baggage. I 
leaped out, but Toppi lingered behind. My knees 
were trembling. I was groaning but still he failed 
to appear. I shouted. Suddenly he reappeared 
at the window and shouted back : 

"What are you crying about? I am looking 
for our hats and your portfolio." 

A few moments later he returned and handed 
me my hat, He himself had his silk top hat on 
and carried the portfolio. I shook with laughter 
and said: 

"Young man, you have forgotten the um- 
brella!" 

But the old buffoon has no sense of humor. He 
replied seriously: 

" I do not carry an umbrella. And do you know, 
our George is dead and so is the chef." 

So, this fallen carcass which has no feelings and 
upon whose face one steps with impunity is our 
George ! I was again seized with terror and sud- 
denly my ears were pierced with groans, wild 

14 



Satan's Diary 

shrieks, whistlings and cries! All the sounds 
wherewith these braves wail when they are 
crushed. At first I was deafened. I heard noth- 
ing. The cars caught fire. The flames and smoke 
shot up into the air. The wounded began to groan 
and, without waiting for the flesh to roast, I 
darted like a flash into the field. What a leap I ( 

Fortunately the low hills of the Roman Cam- 
pagna are very convenient for this kind of sport 
and I was no means behind in the line of runners. 
When, out of breath, I hurled myself upon the 
ground, it was no longer possible to hear or see 
anything. Only Toppi was approaching. But 
what a terrible thing this heart is ! My face 
touched the earth. The earth was cool, firm, calm 
and here I liked it. It seemed as if it had restored 
my breath and put my heart back into its place. 
I felt easier. The stars above were calm. There 
was nothing for them to get excited about. They 
were not concerned with things below. They 
merely shine in triumph. That is their eternal 
ball. And at this brilliant ball the earth, clothed 
in darkness, appeared as an enchanting stranger 
in a black mask. (Not at all badly expressed? I 
trust that you, my reader, will be pleased:, my 
style and my manners are improving!) 

I kissed Toppi in the darkness. I always kiss 
those I like in the darkness. And I said: 

15 



Satan's Diary 

"You are carrying your human form, Toppi, 
very well. I respect you. But what are we to do 
now? Those lights yonder in the sky they are 
the lights of Rome. But they are too far away!" 

"Yes, it is Rome," affirmed Toppi, and raised 
his hand: "do you hear whistling ?" 

From somewhere in the distance came the long- 
drawn, piercing, shrieking of locomotives. They 
were sounding the alarm. 

"Yes, they are whistling," I said and laughed. 

"They are whistling!" repeated Toppi smiling. 
He never laughs. 

But here again I began to feel uncomfortable. 
I was cold, lonely, quivering. In my feet there 
was still the sensation of treading upon corpses. 
I wanted to shake myself like a dog after a bath. 
You must understand me: it was the first time 
that I had seen and felt your corpse, my dear 
reader, and if you pardon me, it did not appeal to 
me at all. Why did it not protest when I walked 
over its face ? George had such a beautiful young 
face and he carried himself with much dignity. 
Remember your face, too, may be trod upon. And 
will you, too, remain submissive? 

We did not proceed to Rome but went instead 
in search of the nearest night lodging. We walked 
long. We grew tired. We longed to drink, oh, 
how we longed to drink! And now, permit me 

16 



Satan's Diary 

to present to you my new friend, Signer Thomas 
Magnus and his beautiful daughter, Maria. 

At first we observed the faint flicker of a light. 
As we approached nearer we found a little house, 
its white walls gleaming through a thicket of dark 
cypress trees and shrubbery. There was a light 
in one of the windows, the rest were barricaded 
with shutters. The house had a stone fence, an 
iron gate, strong doors. And silence. At first 
glance it all looked suspicious. Toppi knocked. 
Again silence. Finally there came a gruff voice, 
Still silence. I knocked. Again silence. Finally 
there came a gruff voice, asking from behind the 
iron door: 

"Who are you? What do you want?" 
Hardly mumbling with his parched tongue, my 
brave Toppi narrated the story of the catastrophe 
and our escape. He spoke at length and then came 
the click of a lock and the door was opened. Fol- 
lowing behind our austere and silent stranger we 
entered the house, passed through several dark 
and silent rooms, walked up a flight of creaking 
stairs into a brightly lighted room, apparently 
the stranger's workroom. There was much light, 
many books, with one open beneath a low lamp 
shaded by a simple, green globe. We had not no- 
ticed this light in the field. But what astonished 
me was the silence of the house. Despite the 

17 



Satan's 'T " 

rather early hour not a move, not a sound, not a 
voice was to be heard. 

"Have a seat." 

We sat down and Toppi, now almost in pain, 
began again to narrate his story. But the 
strange host interrupted him : 

"Yes-, a catastrophe. They often occur on our 
roads. Were there many victims?" 

Toppi continued his prattle and the host, while 
listening to him, took a revolver out of his pocket 
and hid it in a table drawer, adding carelessly : 

"This is not a particularly quiet neighbor- 
hood. Well, please, remain here. ' ' 

For the first time he raised his dark eyebrows 
and his large dim eyes and studied us intently as 
if he were gazing upon something savage in a 
museum. It was an impolite and brazen stare. I 
arose and said: 

"I fear that we are not welcome here, Signor, 
and " 

He stopped Me with an impatient and slightly 
sarcastic gesture. 

"Nonsense, you remain here. I will get you 
some wine and food. My servant is here in the 
daytime only, so allow me to wait on you. You 
will find the bathroom behind this door. Go wash 
and freshen up while I get the wine. Make your- 
self at home." 

18 



Satan's Diary 

While we ate and^ft -wun. savage relish, I 
confess this unsympathf 4 V gentleman kept on 
reading a book as if there* were no one else in the 
room, undisturbed by Toppi's munching and the 
dog's struggle with a bone. I studied my host 
carefully. Almost my height, his pale face bore an 
expression of weariness. He had a black, oily, 
bandit-like beard. But his brow was high and his 
nose betrayed good sense. How would you de- 
scribe it? Well, here again I seek comparisons. 
Imagine the nose betraying the story of a graat, 
passionate, extraordinary, secret life. It is beau- 
tiful and seems to have been made not out of 
muscle and cartilage, but out of what do yon 
call it? out of thoughts and brazen desires. He 
seems quite brave too. But I was particularly at- 
tracted by his hands: very big, very white and 
giving the impression of self-control. I do not 
know why his hands attracted me so much. But 
suddenly I thought: how beautifully exact the 
number of fingers, exactly ten of them, ten thin, 
evil, wise, crooked fingers ! 

I said politely : 

"Thank you, sign or " 

He replied: 

' * My name is Magnus. Thomas Magnus. Have 
some wine? Americans?" 

I waited for Toppi to introduce me, according 

19 






Satan's Diary 

to the English custom, and I looked toward Mag- 
nus. One had to be an ignorant, illiterate animal 
not to know me. 

Toppi broke in : 

"Mr. Henry Wondergood of Illinois. His sec- 
retary, Irwin Toppi, your obedient servant. Yes, 
citizens of the United States." 

The old buffoon blurted out his tirade, evincing 
a thorough lack of pride, and Magnus yes, he 
was a little startled. Billions, my friend, billions. 
He gazed at Me long and intently : 

"Mr. Wondergood? Henry Wondergood I Are 
you not, sir, that American billionaire who seeks 
to bestow upon humanity the benefits of his bil- 
lions!" 

I modestly shook my head in the affirmative. 

"Yes, I am the gentleman." 

Toppi shook his head in affirmation the ass: 

"Yes, we are the gentlemen." 

Magnus bowed and said with a tinge of irony 
in his voice : 

"Humanity is awaiting you, Mr. Wondergood. 
Judging by the Koman newspapers it is extremely 
impatient. But I must crave your pardon for this 
very modest meal : I did not know . . . 3 

I seized his large, strangely warm hand and 
shaking it violently, in American fashion, I said : 

"Nonsense, Signer Magnus. I was a swine- 

20 



Satan's Diary 

herd before I became a billionaire, while you are a 
straightforward, honest and noble gentleman, 
whose hand I press with the utmost respect. The 
devil take it, not a single human face has yet 
aroused in me as much sympathy as yours 1" 

Magnus said . . . 

Magnus said nothing! I cannot continue this: 
"I said," "he said," This cursed consistency 
is deadly to my inspiration. It transforms me in- 
to a silly romanticist of a boulevard sheet and 
makes me lie like a mediocrity. I have five senses. 
I am a complete human being and yet I speak only 
of the hearing. And how about the sight? I as- 
sure you it did not remain idle. And this sensa- 
tion of the earth, of Italy, of My existence which 
I now perceive with a new and sweet strength! 
You imagine that all I did was to listen to wise 
Thomas Magnus. He speaks and I gaze, under- 
stand, answer, while I think: what a beautiful 
earth, what a beautiful Campagna di Eoma! I 
persisted in penetrating the recesses of the house, 
into its locked silent rooms. With every moment 
my joy mounted at the thought that I am alive, 
that I can speak and play and, suddenly, I rather 
liked the idea of being human. 

I remember that I held out my card to Magnus. 
"Henry Wondergood." He was surprised, but 
laid the card politely on the table. I felt like im- 

21 



Satan's Diary 

planting a kiss on his brow for this politeness, for 
the fact that he too was human. I, too, am human. 
I was particularly proud of my foot encased in a 
fine, tan leather shoe and I persisted in swinging 
it: swing on beautiful, human, American foot! I 
was extremely emotional that evening! I even 
wanted to weep : to look my host straight in the 
eyes and to squeeze out of my own eyes, so full 
of love and goodness, two little tears. I actually 
did it, for at that moment I felt a little pleasant 
sting in my nose, as if it had been hit by a spurt 
of lemonade. I observed that my two little tears 
made an impression upon Magnus. 

But Toppi! While I experienced this won- 
drous poem of feeling human and even of weep- 
ing, he slept like a dead one at the very same 
table. I was rather angered. This was really 
going too far. I wanted to shout at him, but Mag- 
nus restrained me : 

"He has had a good deal of excitement and is 
weary, Mr. Wondergood." 

The hour had really grown late. We had been 
talking and arguing with Magnus for two hours 
when Toppi fell asleep. I sent him off to bed 
while we continued to talk and drink for quite a 
while. I drank more wine, but Magnus restrained 
himself. There was a dimness about his face. I 
was beginning to develop an admiration for his 

22 



Satan's Diary 

grim and, at times, evil, secretive countenance. 
He said: 

"I believe in your altruistic passion, Mr. Won- 
dergood. But I do not believe that you, a man of 
wisdom and of action, and, it seems to me, some- 
what cold, could place any serious hopes upon 
your money " 

" Three billion dollars that is a mighty power, 
Magnus !" 

"Yes, three billion dollars, a mighty power, 
indeed, " he agreed, rather unwillingly "but 
what will you do with it!" 

I laughed. 

"You probably want to say what can this ig- 
noramus of an American, this erstwhile swine- 
herd, who knows swine better than he knows men, 
do with the money?" 

"The first business helps the other," said 
Magnus. 

"I dare say you have but a slight opinion of 
this foolish philanthropist whose head has been 
turned by his gold," said I. "Yes, to be sure, 
what can I do? I can open another university in 
Chicago, or another maternity hospital in San 
Francisco, or another humanitarian reformatory 
in New York." 

"The latter would be a distinct work of mercy," 
quoth Magnus. "Do not gaze at me with such re- 

23 



Satan's Diary_ 

proach, Mr. Wondergood : I am not jesting. You 
will find in me the same pure love for humanity 
which burns so fiercely in you." 

He was laughing at me and I felt pity for him : 
not to love people ! Miserable, unfortunate Mag- 
nus. I could kiss his brow with great pleasure! 
Not to love people ! 

"Yes, I do not love them," affirmed Magnus, 
"but I am glad that you do not intend to travel 
the conventional road of all American philan- 
thropists. Your billions >" 

"Three billions, Magnus! One could build a 
nation on this money " 

"Yes? " 

( l Or destroy a nation, ' ? said I. ' ' With this gold, 
Magnus, one can start a war or a revolution 

"Yes!- " 

I actually succeeded in arousing his interest: 
his large white hands trembled slightly and in his 
eyes there gleamed for a moment a look of re- 
spect: "You, Wondergood, are not as foolish as 
I thought!" He arose, paced up and down the 
room, and halting before me asked sneeringly : 

"And you know exactly what your humanity 
needs most : the creation of a new or the destruc- 
tion of the old state? War or peace? Eest or 
revolution? Who are you, Mr. Wondergood of 
Illinois, that you essay to solve these problems? 

24 



Satan's Diary 

You had better keep on building your maternity 
hospitals and universities. That is far less dan- 
gerous work." 

I liked the man's hauteur. I bowed my head 
modestly and said : 

"You are right, Signor Magnus. Who am I, 
Henry Wondergood, to undertake the solution of 
these problems? But I do not intend to solve 
them. I merely indicate them. I indicate them, 
and I seek the solution. I seek the solution and 
the man who can give it to me. I have never read 
a serious book carefully. I see you have quite 
a supply of books here. You are a misanthrope, 
Magnus. You are too much of a European not 
to be easily disillusioned in things, while we, 
young America, believe in humanity. A man must 
be created. You in Europe are bad craftsmen and 
have created a bad man. We shall create a bet- 
ter one. I beg your pardon for my frankness. 
jAs long as I was merely Henry Wondergood I 
devoted myself only to the creation of pigs and 
my pigs, let me say to you, have been awarded no 
fewer medals and decorations than Field Marshal 
Moltke. But now I desire to create people." 

Magnus smiled: 

"You are an alchemist, Wondergood: you would 
transform lead into gold!" 

"Yes, I want to create gold and I seek the 
25 



Satan's Diary 

philosopher's stone. But has it not already beer 
found! It has been found, only you do not know 
how to use it: It is love. Ah, Magnus, I do not 
know yet what I will do, but my plans are heroic 
and magnificent. If not for that misanthropic 
smile of yours I might go further. Believe in 
Man, Magnus, and give me your aid. You know 
X.what Man needs most." 

He said coldly and with sadness : 

"He needs prisons and gallows." 

I exclaimed in anger (I am particularly adept 
in feigning anger) : 

"You are slandering me, Magnus! I see that 
you must have experienced some very great mis- 
fortune, perhaps treachery and " 

"Hold on, Wondergood! I never speak of my- 
self and do not like to hear others speak of me. 
Let it be sufficient for you to know that you are 
the first man in four years to break in upon my 
solitude and this only due to chance. I do not 
like people." 

"Oh, pardon. But I do not believe it." 

Magnus went over to the bookcase and with 
an expression of supreme contempt he seized the 
first volume he laid his hands upon. 

"And you who have read no books," he said, 
"do you know what these books are about? Only 
about evil, about the mistakes and sufferings of 

26 



Satan's Diary 

humanity. They are filled with tears and blood, 
Wondergood. Look : in this thin little book which 
I clasp between two fingers is contained a whole 
ocean of human blood, and if you should take all 

of them together And who has spilled this 

blood? The devil?" 

I felt flattered and wanted to bow in acknowl- 
edgment, but he threw the book aside and shouted : 

"No, sir: Man! Man has spilled this blood! 
Yes, I do read books but only for one purpose; 
to learn how to hate man and to hold him in 
contempt. You, Wondergood, have transformed 
your pigs into gold, yes? And I can see how your 
gold is being transformed back again into pigs. 
They will devour you, Wondergood. But I do not 
wish either to prattle or to lie : Throw your money 
into the sea or build some new prisons and gal- 
lows. You are vain like all men. Then go on 
building gallows. You will be respected by seri- 
ous people, while the flock in general will call you 
great. Or, don't you, American from Illinois, 
want to get into the Pantheon?" 

" No, Magnus! " 

' ' Blood ! ' ' cried Magnus. ' ' Can 't you see that it 
is everywhere? Here it is on your boot now " 

I confess that at the moment Magnus appeared 
to be insane. I jerked my foot in sudden fear and 

27 



Satan's Diary 

only then did I perceive a dark, reddish spot on my 
shoe how dastardly! 

Magnus smiled and immediately regaining his 
composure continued calmly and without emotion : 

"I have unwittingly startled you, Mr. Wonder- 
good? Nonsense! You probably stepped on 
something inadvertently. A mere trifle. But this 
conversation, a conversation I have not conducted 
for a number of years, makes me uneasy and 
good night, Mr. Wondergood. To-morrow I shall 
have the honor of presenting you to my daughter, 
and now you will permit me " 

And so on. In short, this gentleman conducted, 
me to my room in a most impolite manner and 
well nigh put me to bed. I offered no resistance : 
why should I? I must say that I did not like him 
at this moment. I was even pleased when he 
turned to go but, suddenly, he tinned at the very 
threshold and stepping forward, stretched out his 
large white hands. And murmured: 

"Do you see these hands! There is blood on 
them ! Let it be the blood of a scoundrel, a tor- 
turer, a tyrant, but it is the same, red human 
blood. Good night I" 

He spoiled my night for me. I swear by 
eternal salvation that on that night I felt great 
pleasure in being a man, and I made myself thor- 
oughly at home in his narrow human skin. It 

28 



Satan's Diary 

made me feel uncomfortable in the armpits. Yon 
see, I bought it ready made and thought that it 
would be as comforatble as if it had been made 
to measure ! I was highly emotional. I was ex- 
tremely good and affable. I was very eager to 
play, but I was not inclined to tragedy! Blood! 
How can any person of good breeding thrust his 
white hands under the nose of a stranger Hang- 
men have very white hands ! 

Do not think I am jesting. I did not feel well. 
In the daytime I still manage to subdue Wonder- 
good but at night he lays his hands upon me. It 
is he who fills me with his silly dreams and shakes 
within me his entire dusty archive And how 
godlessly silly and meaningless are his dreams! 
He fusses about within me all night long like a 
returned master, seems to be looking about for 
something, grumbles about losses and wear and 
tear and sneezes and cavorts about like a dog ly- 
ing uncomfortable on its bed. It is he who draws 
me in at night like a mass of wet lime into the 
depths of miserable humanity, where I nearly 
choke to death. When I awake in the morning I 
feel that Wondergood has infused ten more de- 
grees of human into me Think of it: He may 
soon eject me all together and leave me standing 
outside he, the miserable owner of an empty 
barn into which I brought breath and soul! 

29 



Satan's Diary 

Like a hurried thief I crawled into a stranger's 
clothes, the pockets of which are bulging with 
forged promissory notes no, still worse ! 

It is not only uncomfortable attire. It is a low, 
dark and stifling jail, wherein I occupy less space 
than a ring might in the stomach of Wondergood. 
You, my dear reader, have been hidden in your 
prison from childhood and you even seem to like 
it, but I I come from the kingdom of liberty. 
And I refuse to be Wondergood r s tape worm: 
one swallow of poison and I am free again. "What 
will you say then, scoundrel Wondergood 1 With- 
out me you will be devoured by the worms. You 
will crack open at the seams Miserable carcass ! 
touch me not! 

On this night however I was in the absolute 
power of Wondergood. What is human blood to 
Me? What do I care about the troubles of their 
life ! But Wondergood was quite aroused by the 
crazy Magnus. Suddenly I felt just think of 
it ! That I am filled with blood, like the bladder 
of an ox, and the bladder is very thin and weak, 
so that it would be dangerous to prick it. Prick 
it and out spurts the blood ! I was terrified at the 
idea that I might be killed in this house: That 
some one might cut my throat and turning me 
upside down, hanging by the legs, would let the 
blood run out upon the floor. 

30 



Satan's Diary 

I lay in the darkness and strained my ears to 
hear whether or not Magnus was approaching 
with his white hands. And the greater the silence 
in this cursed house the more terrified I grew. 
Even Toppi failed to snore as usual. This made 
me angry. Thai my body began to ache. Per- 
haps I was injured in the wreck, or was it weari- 
ness brought on by the flight? Then my body be- 
gan to itch in the most ordinary way and I even 
began to move the feet : it was the appearance of 
the jovial clown in the tragedy! 

Suddenly a dream seized Me by the feet and 
dragged me rapidly below. I hardly had time 
enough to shout. And what nonsense arose be- 
fore me ! Do you ever have such dreams ? I felt 
that I was a bottle of champagne, with a thin neck 
and sealed, but filled not with wine but with blood ! 
And it seemed that not only I but all people had 
become bottles with sealed tops and all of us 
were arranged in a row on a seashore. And, 
Someone horrible was approaching from Some- 
where and wanted to smash us all. And I saw 
how foolish it would be to do so and wanted to 
shout: " Don't smash them. Get a corkscrew!" 
But I had no voice. I was a bottle. Suddenly the 
dead lackey George approached. In his hands 
was a huge sharp corkscrew. He said something 

31 



Satan's Diary 

and seized me by the throat Ah, ah, by the 
throat ! 

I awoke in pain. Apparently he did try to 
open me up. My wrath was so great that I neither 
sighed nor smiled nor moved. I simply killed 
Wondergood again. I gnashed my teeth, straight- 
ened out my eyes, closed them calmly, stretched 
out at full length and lay peacefully in the full 
consciousness of the greatness of my Ego. Had 
the ocean itself moved up on me I would not have 
batted an eye ! Get thee hence, my friend, I wish 
to be alone. 

And the body grew silent, colorless, airy and 
empty again. With light step I left it and before 
my eyes there arose a vision of the extraordinary, 
that which cannot be expressed in your language, 
my poor friend ! Satisfy your curiosity with the 
dream I have just confided to you and ask no 
more! Or does not the "huge, sharp corkscrew'' 

suit you? But it is so artistic! 

* * # * * * # 

In the morning I was well again, refreshed and 
beautiful. I yearned for the play, like an actor 
who has just left his dressing room. Of course 
I did not forget to shave. This canaille Wonder- 
good gets overgrown with hair as quickly as his 
golden skinned pigs. I complained about this to 
Toppi with whom, while waiting for Magnus. I 

32 



Satan's Diary 

was walking in the garden. And Toppi, thinking 
a while, replied philosophically: 

"Yes, man sleeps and his beard grows. This 
is as it should be for the barbers !" 

Magnus appeared. He was no more hospitable 
than yesterday and his pale face carried unmis- 
takable indications of weariness. But he was calm 
and polite. How black his beard is in the day- 
time ! He pressed my hand in cold politeness and 
said : (we were perched on a wall.) 

"You are enjoying the Roman Campagna, Mr. 
Wondergood? A magnificent sight! It is said 
that the Campagna is noted for its fevers, but 
there is but one fever it produces in me the fever 
of thought !" 

Apparently Wondergood did not have much of 
a liking for nature, and I have not yet managed 
to develop a taste for earthly landscape: an 
empty field for me. I cast my eyes politely over 
the countryside before us and said : 

"People interest me more, Signor Magnus. " 

He gazed at me intently with his dark eyes and 
lowering his voice said dryly and with apparent 
reluctance : 

"Just two words about people, Mr. Wonder- 
good. You will soon see my daughter, Maria. 
She is my three billions. You understand?" 

I nodd. iny head in approval. 
33 



Satan's Diary 

"But your California does not produce such 
gold. Neither does any other country on this 
dirty earth. It is the gold of the heavens. I am 
not a believer, Mr. Wondergood, but even I ex- 
perience some doubts when I meet the gaze of my 
Maria. Hers are the only hands into which you 
might without the slightest misgiving place your 
billions " , 

I am an old bachelor and I was overcome with 
fear, but Magnus continued sternly with a ring of 
triumph in his voice : 

"But she will not accept them, Sir! Her gentle 
hands must never touch this golden dirt, Her 
clean eyes will never behold any sight but that 
of this endless, godless Campagna. Here is her 
monastery, Mr. Wondergood, and there is but 
one exit for her from here : into the Kingdom of 
Heaven, if it does exist!" 

"I beg your pardon but I cannot understand 
this, my dear Magnus!" I protested in great joy. 
"Life and people " 

The face of Thomas Magnus grew angry, as it 
did yesterday, and in stern ridicule, he interrupted 
me: 

"And I beg you to grasp, dear Wondergood, 
that life and people are not for Maria, It is 
enough that I know them. My duty was to warn 
you. And now"; he again assumed the attitude 

34 



Satan's Diary 

of cold politeness "I ask you to come to my 
table. You too, Mr. Toppi!" 

We had begun to eat, and were chattering of 
small matters, when Maria entered. The door 
through which she entered was behind my back. 
I mistook her soft step for those of the maid 
carrying the dishes, but I was astonished by the 
long-nosed Toppi, sitting opposite me. His eyes 
grew round like circles, his face red, as if he were 
choking. His Adam's apple seemed to be lifted 
above his neck as if driven by a wave, and to dis- 
appear again somewhere behind his narrow, min- 
isterial collar. Of course, I thought he was chok- 
ing to death with a fishbone and shouted : 

" Toppi! What is the matter with you? Take 
some water." 

But Magnus was already on his feet, announc- 
ing coldly: 

"My daughter, Maria. Mr. Henry Wonder- 
good!" 

I turned about quickly and how can I express 
the extraordinary when it is inexpressible? It 
was something more than beautiful. It was ter- 
rible in its beauty. I do not want to seek com- 
parisons. I shall leave that to you. Take all that 
you have ever seen or ever known of the beauti- 
ful on earth : the lily, the stars, the sun, but add, 
add still more. But not this was the awful aspect 

35 



Satan's Diary 

of it: There was something else: the elusive yet 
astonishing similarity to whom? Whom have 
I met upon this earth who was so beautiful so 
beautiful and awe-inspiring awe-inspiring and 
unapproachable. I have learned by this time 
your entire archive, Wondergood, and I do not 
believe that it comes from your modest gallery! 

"Madonna!" mumbled Toppi in a hoarse voice, 
scared out of his wits. 

So that is it! Yes, Madonna. The fool was 
right, and I, Satan, could understand his terror. 
Madonna, whom people see only in churches, in 
paintings, in the imagination of artists. Maria, 
the name which rings only in hymns and prayer 
books, heavenly beauty, mercy, forgiveness and 
love ! Star of the Seas ! Do you like that name : 
Star of the Seas? 

It was really devilishly funny. I made a deep 
bow and almost blurted out: 

"Madam, I beg pardon for my unbidden in- 
trusion, but I really did not expect to meet you 
here. I most humbly beg your pardon, but I 
could not imagine that this black bearded fellow 
has the honor of having you for his daughter. 
A thousand times I crave your pardon for " 

But enough. I said something else. 

"How do you do, Signorina. It is indeed a 
pleasure." 

36 



Satan's Diary 

And she really did not indicate in any way that 
she was already acquainted with Me. One must 
respect an incognito if one would remain a gen- 
tleman and only a scoundrel would dare to tear a 
mask from a lady's face! This would have been 
all the more impossible, because her father, 
Thomas Magnus, continued to urge us with a 
chuckle : 

"Do eat, please, Mr. Toppi. Why do you not 
drink, Mr. Wondergood? The wine is splendid. " 

In the course of what followed: 

1. She breathed 

2. She blinked 

3. She ate- 
and she was a beautiful girl, about eighteen years 
of age, and her dress was white and her throat 
bare. It was really laughable. I gazed at her 
bare neck and believe me, my earthly friend: I 
am not easily seduced, I am not a romantic youth, 
but I am not- old by any means, I am not at all 
bad looking, I enjoy an independent position in 
the world and don't you like the combination: 
Satan and Maria? Maria and Satan! In evi- 
dence of the seriousness of my intentions I can \f 
submit at that moment I thought more of our n 
descendants and sought a name for our first-born 
than indulged-in frivolity. 

37 



Satan's Diary 

Suddenly Toppi 's Adam's apple gave a jei 
and lie inquired hoarsely: 

"Has any one ever painted your portrait, Sig- 
norinaf" 

"Maria never poses for painters!" broke in 
Magnus sternly. I felt like laughing at the fool 
Toppi. I had already opened wide my mouth, 
filled with a set of first-class American teeth, 
when Maria's pure gaze pierced my eyes and 
everything flew to the devil, as in that moment 
of the railway catastrophe ! You understand : she 
turned me inside out, like a stocking or how 
shall I put it? My fine Parisian costume was 
driven inside of me and my still finer thoughts 
which, however, I would not have wanted to con- 
vey to the lady, suddenly appeared upon the sur- 
face. With all my secrecy I was left no more 
sealed than a room in a fifteen cent lodging house. 

But she forgave me, said nothing and threw 
her gaze like a projector in the direction of Toppi, 
illumining his entire body. You, too, would have 
laughed had you seen how this poor old devil was 
set aglow and aflame by this gaze clear from 
the prayer book to the fishbone with which he 
nearly choked to death. 

Fortunately for both of us Magnus arose and 
invited us to follow him into the garden. 

"Come, let us go into the garden," said he. 

38 



Satan's Diary 

" Maria will show you her favorite flowers." 

Yes, Maria! But seek no songs of praise from 
me, oh poet ! I was mad ! I was as provoked as 
a man whose closet has just been ransacked by a 
burglar. I wanted to gaze at Maria but was com- 
pelled to look upon the foolish flowers because I 
dared not lift my eyes. I am a gentleman and 
cannot appear before a lady without a necktie, 
I was seized by a curious humility. Do you like 
to feel humble! I do not. 

I do not know what Maria said. But I swear by 
eternal salvation her gaze, and her entire un- 
canny countenance was the embodiment of an all- 
embracing meaning so that any wise word I might 
have uttered would have sounded meaningless. 
The wisdom of words is necessary only for those 
poor in spirit. The right are silent. Take note 
of that, little poet, sage and eternal chatterbox, 
wherever you may be. Let it be sufficient for you 
that I have humbled myself to speak. 

Ah, but I have forgotten my humility! She 
walked and I and Toppi crawled after her. I 
detested myself and this broad-backed Toppi be- 
cause of his hanging nose and large, pale ears. 
What was needed here was an Apollo and not 
a pair of ordinary Americans. 

We felt quite relieved when she had gone and 
we were left alone with Magnus. It was all so 

39 



Satan's Diary 

sweet and simple ! Toppi abandoned his religious 
airs and I crossed my legs comfortably, lit a cigar, 
and fixed my steel-sharp gaze upon the whites of 
Magnus's eyes. 

"You must be off to Kome, Mr. Wondergood. 
They are probably worrying about you," said our 
host in a tone of loving concern. 

"I can send Toppi/' I replied. He smiled and 
added ironically: 

"I hardly think that would be sufficient, Mr. 
Wondergood ! ' r 

I sought to clasp his great white hand but it 
did not seem to move closer. But I caught it just 
the same, pressed it warmly and he was com- 
pelled to return the pressure! 

' ' Very well, Signor Magnus ! I am off at once I ' ' 
I said. 

"I have already sent for the carriage," he re- 
plied. "Is not the Campagna beautiful in the 
morning?" 

I again took a polite look at the country-side 
and said with emotion: 

"Yes, it is beautiful! Irwin, my friend, leave 
us for a moment. I have a few words to say to 
Signor Magnus " 

Toppi left and Signor Magnus opened wide his 
big sad eyes. I again tried my steel on him, and 
bending forward closer to his dark face, I asked: 

40 



s ! 



Satan's Diary 

"Have you ever observed dear Magnus, the 
very striking resemblance between your daugh- 
ter, the Signorina Maria, and a certain cele- 
brated personage? Don't you think she resem- 
bles the Madonna ?" 

"Madonna?" drawled out Magnus. "No, dear 
Wondergood, I haven't noticed that. I never go 
to church. But I fear you will be late. The 
Eoman fever " 

I again seized his white hand and shook it vig- 
orously. No, I did not tear it off. And from my 
eyes there burst forth again those two tears : 

"Let us speak plainly, Signor Magnus," said I. 
"I am a straightforward man and have grown to 
love you. Do you want to come along with me and 
be the lord of my billions?" 

Magnus was silent. His hand lay motionless in 
mine. His eyes were lowered and something dark 
seemed to pass over his face, then immediately to 
disappear. Finally he said, seriously and simply : 

"I understand you, Mr. Wondergood but I 
must refuse. No, I will not go with you. I have 
failed to tell you one thing, but your frankness 
and confidence in me compell me to say that I 
must, to a certain extent, steer clear of the 
police. ' ' 

"The Roman police," I asked, betraying a 
slight excitement. "Nonsense, we shall buy it." 

41 



Satan's Diary 

"No, the international," he replied. "I hope 
you do not think that I have committed some base 
crime. The trouble is not with police which can 
be bought. You are right, Mr. Wondergood, when 
you say that one can buy almost any one. The 
truth is that I can be of no use to you. What do 
you want me for? You love humanity and I de- 
test it. At best I am indifferent to it. Let it live 
and not interfere with me. Leave me my Maria, 
leave me the right and strength to detest people 
as I read the history of their life. Leave me my 
Campagna and that is all I want and all of which 
I am capable. All the oil within me has burned 
out, Wondergood. You see before you an extin- 
guished lamp hanging on a wall, a lamp which 
once Goodbye. " 

"I do not ask your confidence, Magnus," I in- 
terjected. 

"Pardon me, you will never receive it, Mr. Won- 
dergood. My name is an invention but it is the 
only one I can offer to my friends. " 

To tell the truth: I liked "Thomas Magnus " at 
that moment. He spoke bravely and simply. In 
his face one could read stubbornness and will. 
This man knew the value of human life and had 
the mien of one condemned to death. But it was 
the mien of a proud, uncompromising criminal, 
who will never accept the ministrations of a 

42 






Satan's Diary 

priest ! For a moment I thought : My Father had 
many bastard children, deprived of legacy and 
wandering about the world. Perhaps Thomas 
.Magnus is one of these wanderers? And is it pos- 
sible that I have met a brother on this earth? 
Very interesting. But from a purely human, busi- 
ness point of view, one cannot help but respect a 
man whose hands are steeped in blood ! 

I saluted, changed my position, and in the 
humblest posible manner, asked Magnus's per- 
mission to visit him occasionally and seek his ad- 
vice. He hesitated but finally looked me straight 
in the face and agreed. 

"Very well, Mr. Wondergood. You may come. 
I hope to hear from you things that may supple- 
ment the knowledge I glean from my books. And, 
by the way, Mr. Toppi has made an excellent im- 
pression upon my Maria" 

' "Toppi?" 

"Yes. She has found a striking resemblance 
between him and one of her favorite saints. She 
goes to church frequently." 

Toppi a saint! Or has his prayer book over- 
balanced his huge back and the fishbone in his 
throat. Magnus gazed at me almost gently and 
only his thin nose seemed to tremble slightly 
with restrained laughter. It is very pleasant to 
know that behind this austere exterior there is 

43 



Satan's Diary 

so much quiet and restrained merriment I 
It was twilight when we left. Magnus followed 
us to the threshold, but Maria remained in se- 
clusion. The little white house surrounded by the 
cypress trees was as quiet and silent as we found 
it yesterday, but the silence was of a different- 
character : the silence was the soul of Maria. 

I confess that I felt rather sad at this departure 
but very soon came a new series of impressions, 
which dispelled this feeling. We were approach- 
ing Eome. We entered the brightly illuminated, 
densely populated streets through some opening, 
in the city wall and the first thing we saw in the 
Eternal City was a creaking trolley car, trying to 
make its way through the same hole in the wall. 
Toppi, who was acquainted with Eome, revelled 
in the familiar atmosphere of the churches we 
were pasing and indicated with his long finger the 
remnants of ancient Eome which seemed to be 
clinging to the huge wall of the new structures: 
just as if the latter had been bombarded with the 
shells of old and fragments of the missiles had 
clung to the bricks. 

Here and there we came upon additional heaps 
of this old rubbish. Above a low parapet of stone, 
we observed a dark shallow ditch and a large tri- 
umphal gate, half sunk in the earth. "The 
Forum !" exclaimed Toppi, majestically. Our 

44 



Satan's Diary 

coachman nodded his head in affirmation. With 
every new pile of old stone and brick the fellow 
swelled with pride, while I longed for my New 
York and its skyscrapers, and tried to calculate 
the number of trucks that would be necessary to 
clear these heaps of rubbish called ancient Eome 
away before morning. When I mentioned this to 
Toppi he was insulted and replied : 

"You don't understand anything: better close 
your eyes and just reflect that you are in Eome." 

I did so and was again convinced that sight is 
as much of an impediment to the mind as sound : 
not without reason are all wise folk on the earth 
blind and all good musicians deaf. 

Like Toppi I began to sniff the air and through 
my sense of smell I gathered more of Eome and 
its horribly long and highly entertaining history 
than hitherto: thus a decaying leaf in the woods 
smells stronger than the young and green foliage. 
Will you believe me when I say that I sensed the 
odor of blood and Nero? But when I opened my 
eyes expectantly I observed a plain, everyday 
kiosk and a lemonade stand. 

"Well, how do you like it?" growled Toppi, 
still dissatisfied. 

"It smells " 

"Well, certainly it smells! It will smell 
45 



Satan's Diary 

stronger with, every hour: these are old, strong 
aromas, Mr. Wondergood. ' ' 

And so it really was : the odor grew in strength. 
I cannot find comparisons to make it clear to you. 
All the sections of my brain began to move and 
buzz like bees aroused by smoke. It is strange, 
but it seems that Eome is included in the archive 
of the silly Wondergood. Perhaps this is his na- 
tive town? When we approached a certain popu- 
lous square I sensed the clear odor of some blood 
relatives, which was soon followed by the convic- 
tion that I, too, have walked these streets before. 
Have I, like Toppi, previously donned the human 
form? Ever louder buzzed the bees. My entire 
beehive buzzed and suddenly thousands of faces, 
dim and white, beautiful and horrible, began to 
dance before me; thousands upon thousands of 
voices, noises, cries, laughters and sighs nearly 
set me deaf. No, this was no longer a beehive : 
it was a huge, fiery smithy, where firearms were 
being forged with the red sparks flying all about. 
Iron! 

Of course, if I had lived in Eome before, I must 
fiave been one of its emperors : I remember the 
expression of my face. I remember the movement 
of my bare neck as I turn my head. I remember 
the touch of golden laurels upon my bald head 

46 



Satan's Diary 

Iron ! Ah, I hear the steps of the iron legions of 
Eome. I hear the iron voices: "Vivat Caesar I" 

I am hot. I am burning. Or was I not an em- 
peror but simply one of the " victims " when 
Rome burned down in accordance with the mag- 
nificent plan of Nero ? No, this is not a fire. This 
is a funeral pyre on which I am forcibly esconsced. 
I hear the snake-like hissing of the tongues of 
flame beneath my feet. I strain my neck, all lined 
with blue veins, and in my throat there rises the 
final curse or blessing? Think of it: I even re- 
member that Roman face in the front row of spec- 
tators, which even then gave me no rest because 
of its idiotic expression and sleepy eyes: I am 
being burned and it sleeps ! 

" Hotel ' Internationale ' " cried Toppi, and I 
opened my eyes. 

"We were going up a hill along a quiet street, 
at the end of which there glowed a large structure, 
worthy even of New York : it was the hotel where 
we had previously wired for reservations. They 
probably thought we had perished in the wreck. 
My funeral pyre was extinguished. I grew as 
merry as a darkey who has just escaped from hard 
labor and I whispered to Toppi : 

"Well, Toppi, and how about the Madonna?" 

"Y-yes, interesting. I was frightened at first 

and nearly choked to death " 

47 



'Satan's Diary 

"With a bone? You are silly, Toppi: she is 
polite and did not recognize you. She simply took 
you for one of her saints. It is a pity, old boy, 
that we have chosen for ourselves these solemn, 
American faces: had we looked around more 
carefully we might have found some more beau- 
tiful." * 

"I am quite satisfied with mine," said Toppi 
sadly, and turned away. A glow of secret self- 
satisfaction appeared upon his long, shiny nose. 
Ah, Toppi, Ah, the saint! 

But we were already being accorded a trium- 
phal reception. 

February 14. 
Eome, Hotel " Internationale." 

I do not want to go to Magnus. I am thinkinj 
too much of his Madonna of flesh and bone. I 
have come here to lie and to play merrily and I 
am not at all taken by the prospect of being a 
mediocre actor, who weeps behind the scenes and 
appears on the stage with his eyes perfectly dry. 
Moreover, I have no time to gad about the fields 
catching butterflies with a net like a boy. 

The whole of Eome is buzzing about me. I am 
an extraordinary man, who loves his fellow beings 
and I am celebrated. The mobs who flock to wor- 
ship Me are no less numerous than those who wor- 

48 



Satan's Diary 

ship the Vicar of Christ himself, two Popes all at 
once. Y es> happy Rome cannot consider itself an 
orphan ! 

I am now living at the hotel, where all is 
aquiver with ecstacy when I put my shoes outside 
my door for the night, but they are renovating a 
palace for me : the historic Villa Orsini. Painters, 
sculptors and poets are kept busy. One brush- 
pusher is already painting my portrait, assuring 
me that I remind him of one of the Medicis. The 
other brush-pushers are sharpening their knives 
for him. 

I ask him : 

"And can you paint a Madonna?" 

Certainly he can. It was he, if the signor recol- 
lects, who painted the famous Turk on the cigar- 
ette boxes, the Turk whose fame is known even in 
America. And now three brush pushers are 
painting Madonnas for me. The rest are running 
about Eome seeking models. I said to one, in my 
barbarous, American ignorance of the higher arts : 

"But if you find such a model, Signor, just 
bring her to me. Why waste paint and canvas ? ' ' 

He was evidently pained and mumbled : 

"Ah, Signor a model!" 

I think *he took me for a merchant in "live 
stock." But, fool, why do I need your aid for 
which I must pay a commission, when my ante- 

49 



Satan's Diary 

chamber is filled with a flock of beaaities? They 
all worship me. I remind them of Savaoiarola, 
and they seek to transform every dark corner 
my drawing room, and every soft couch into a 
confessional. I am so glad that these society 
ladies, like the painters, know so well the history 
of their country and realize who I am. 

The joy of the Eoman papers on finding that I 
did not perish in the wreck and lost neither my 
legs nor my billions, was equal to the joy of the 
papers of Jerusalem on the day of the resurrec- 
tion of Christ in reality there was little cause 
for satisfaction on the part of the latter, as far as 
I am able to read history. I feared that I might re- 
mind the journalists of J. Caesar, but fortunately 
they think little of the past and confined them- 
selves to pointing out my resemblance to Presi- 
dent Wilson. Scoundrels! They were simply 
flattering my American patriotism. To the ma- 
jority, however, I recall a Prophet, but they do 
not know which one. On this point they are 
modestly Silent, At any rate it is not Mahomet: 
my opposition to marriage is well known at all 
telegraph stations. 

It is difficult to imagine the filth on which I fed 
my hungry interviewers. Like an experienced 
swine-herd, I gaze with horror on the mess they 
feed upon. They eat and yet they live. Although, 

50 



Satan's Diary 

I must admit, I do not see them growing fat ! Yes- 
terday morning I flew in an aeroplane over Eome 
and the Campagna. You will probably ask 
whether I saw Maria's home? No. I did not 
find it : how can one find a grain of sand among 
a myriad of other grains But I really did not 
look for it: I felt horror-stricken at the great 
altitude. 

But my good interviewers, restless and impa- 
tient, were astounded by my coolness and cour- 
age. One fellow, strong, surly and bearded, who 
reminded me of Hannibal, was the first to reach 
me after the flight, and asked: 

"Did not the sensation of flying in the air, Mr. 
Wondergood, the feeling of having conquered the 
elements, thrill you with a sense of pride in man, 
who has subdued " 

He repeated the question: they don't seem to 
trust me, somehow, and are always suggesting the 
proper answers. But I shrugged my shoulders 
and exclaimed sadly : 

"Can you imagine Signor No! Only once did 
I have a sense of pride in men and that was in 
the lavatory on board the l Atlantic.' " 

"Oh! In the lavatory! But what happened! 
A storm, and you were astounded by the genius of 
man, who has subdued " 

"Nothing extraordinary happened. But I was 
51 



Satan's Diary 

astounded by the genius of man who managed to 
create a palace out of such a disgusting necessity 
as a lavatory. " 

"Oh!" 

"A real temple, in which one is the arch 
priest I" 

" Permit me to make a note of that. It is such 
an original illumination of the problem " 

And to-day the whole Eternal City was feeding 
on this sally. Not only did they not request me to 
leave the place, but on the contrary, this was the 
day of the first official visits to my apartments 
something on the order of a minister of state, an 
ambassador or some other palace chef came and 
poured sugar and cinnamon all over me as if I 
were a pudding. Later in the day I returned the 
visits : it is not very pleasant to keep such things. 

Need I say that I have a nephew? Every Amer- 
ican millionaire has a nephew in Europe. My 
nephew's name is also Wondergood. He is con- 
nected with some legation, is very correct in man- 
ners and his bald spot is so oiled that my kiss 
could serve me as a breakfast were I fond of 
scented oil. But one must be willing to sacrifice 
something, especially the gratification of a sense 
of smell. The kiss cost me not a cent, while it 
meanj; a great deal to the young man. It opened 
for him, a wide credit on soap and perfumery. 

52 



'Satan's Diary 

But enough! When I look at these ladies and 
gentlemen and reflect that they are just as they 
were at the court of Aschurbanipal and that for 
the past 2000 years the pieces of silver received 
by Judas continue to bear interest, like his kiss 
I grow bored with this old and threadbare play. 
Ah, I want a great play. I seek originality and 
talent. I want beautiful lines and bold strokes. 
This company here casts me in the role of an old 
brass band conductor. At times I come to the x 
conclusion that it wasn't really worth my while / 
to have undertaken such a long journey for the 
sake of this old drivel-to exchange ancient, mag- / 
nificent and multi-colored Hell for its miserable]/ 
replica. }>fn truth, I am sorry that Magnus and>J 
his Madonna refused to join me we would have 
played a little just a little ! 

I have had but one interesting morning. In fact 
I was quite excited. The congregation of a so- 
called "free" church, composed of very serious 
men and women, who insist upon worshipping in 
accordance with the dictates of their conscience, 
invited Me to deliver a Sunday sermon. I donned 
a black frock coat, which gave me a close resem- 
blance to Toppi, went through a number of par- 
ticularly expressive gestures before my mirror 
and was driven in an automobile, like a prophet 
moderne, to the service. I took as my subject or 

53 



Satan's Diary 

"text" Jesus' advice to the rich youth to dis- 
tribute his wealth among the poor and in hot 
more than half an hour, I demonstrated as con- 
clusively as 2 and 2 make 4, that love of one's 
neighbor is the all important thing. Like a prac- 
tical and careful American, however, I pointed 
out that it was not necessary to try and go after 
the whole of the kingdom of Heaven at one shot 
and to distribute one 's wealth carelessly ; that one 
can buy it up in lots on the instalment plan and 
by easy payments. The faces of the faithful bore 
a look of extreme concentration. They were ap- 
parently figuring out something and came to the 
conclusion that on the basis I suggested, the King- 
dom of Heaven was attainable for the pockets of 
all of them. 

Unfortunately, a number of my quick-witted 
compatriots were present in the congregation. 
One of them was about to rise to his feet to pro- 
pose the formation of a stock company, when I 
realized the danger and frustrated this plan by 
letting loose a fountain of emotion, and thus ex- 
tinguished his religiously practical zeal! What 
did I not talk about? I wept for my sad child- 
hood, spent in labor and privation ; I whined about 
my poor father who perished in a match factory. 
I prayed solemnly for all my brothers and sisters 
in Christ. The swamp I created was so huge that 

54 



Satan's Diary 

the journalists caught enough wild ducks to last 
them for six months. How we wept ! 

I shivered with the dampness and began to beat 
energetically the drum of my billions : dum-dum ! 
Everything for others, not a cent for me: dum- 
dum! With a brazenness worthy of the whip I 
concluded "with the words of the Great 
Teacher ": 

"Come ye unto me all who are heavy-laden and 
weary and I will comfort ye ! ' ' 

Ah, what a pity I cannot perform miracles ! A 
little practical miracle, something on the order 
of transforming a bottle of water into one of sour 
Chianti or some of the worshippers into pastry, 
would have gone a long way at that moment. 
You laugh and are angry, my earthy reader? 
There is no reason for you to act thus. Remem- 
ber only that the extraordinary cannot be ex- 
pressed in your ventriloquist language and that 
my words are merely a cursed mask for my 
thoughts. 

Maria ! 

You will read of my success in the newspapers. 
There was one fool, however, who almost spoiled 
my day for me : he was a member of the Salvation 
Army. He came to see me and suggested that I 
immediately take up a trumpet and lead the army 
into battle they were too cheap laurels he offered 

55 



Satan's Diary 

and I drove him out. But Toppi he was trium- 
phantly silent all the way home and finally he said 
very respectfully: 

"You were in fine mettle io-day, Mr. Wonder- 
good. I even wept. It is a pity that neither Mag- 
nus nor his daughter heard you preach, She- 
she would have changed her opinion of us." 

"You understand, of course, that I felt like 
kicking this admirer out of the carriage ! I again 
felt in the pupils of my eyes the piercing sting of 
hers. The speed with which I was again turned in- 
side out and spread out on a plate for the public's 
view is equal only to that with which an experi- 
enced waiter opens a can of conserves. I drew 
my top hat over my eyes, raised 7 the collar of my 
coat and looking very much like a tragedian just 
hissed off the stage, I rode silently, and without 
acknowledging the greetings showered upon me, 
I proceeded to my apartments. Ah, that gaze of 
Maria ! And how could I have acknowledged the 
greetings when I had no cane with me I 

I have declined all of to-day's invitations and 
am at home : I am engaged in ' ( religious medita- 
tion" this was how Toppi announced it to the 
journalists. He has really begun to respect me. 
Before me are whiskey and champagne. I am 
slowly filling up on the liquor while from the din- 
ing hall below come the distant strains of music. 

56 



Satan's Diary 

My Wondergood was apparently considerable of 
a drunkard and every night he drags me to the 
wineshop, to which I interpose no objection. 
What's the difference? Fortunately his intoxica- 
tion is of a merry kind and we make quite a pleas- 
ant time of it. At first we cast our dull eyes over 
the furniture and involuntarily begin to calculate 
the value of all this bronze, these carpets, Vene- 
tian mirrors, etc. 

"A trifle!" we agree, and with peculiar self- 
satisfaction we lose ourselves in the contempla- 
tion of our own billions, of our power and our 
remarkable wisdom and character. Our bliss in- 
creases with each additional glass. With peculiar 
pleasure we wallow in the cheap luxury of the 
hotel, and think of it ! I am actually beginning 
to have a liking for bronze, carpets, glass and 
stones. My Puritan Toppi condemns luxury. It 
reminds him of Sodom and Gommorah. But it is 
difficult for me to part with these little emotional 
pleasures. How silly of me ! 

We continue to listen dully and half-heartedly 
to the music and venture to whistle som i accom- 
paniments. We add a little contemplation on the 
decollete of the ladies and then, with our step still 
firm, we proceed to our resting room. 

But we were just ready for bed when suddenly 
I felt as if some one had struck me a blow and 

57 



Satan's Diary 

I was immediately seized with a tempest of tears, 
of love and sadness. The extraordinary suddenly 
found expression. I grew as broad as space, as 
deep as eternity and I embraced all in a single 
breath ! But, oh, what sadness ! Oh, what love, 
Maria ! 

But I am nothing more than a subterraneai 
lake in the belly of Wondergood and my stoi 
in no way disturb his firm tread. I am only a 
solitaire in his stomach, of which he seeks to rid 
himself ! 

We ring for the servants. 

"Soda!" 

I am simply drunk. A rivederci, Signor, buona 
notte ! 

February 18, 1914. 
Eome, Hotel " Internationale. " 
Yesterday I visited Magnus. I was com- 
pelled to wait long for him, in the garden, and 
when he did appear he was so cold and indif- 
ferent that I felt like leaving. I observed a few 
gray hairs in his black beard. I had not no- 
ticed them before. Was Maria unwell? I appeared 
concerned. Everything here is so uncertain that 
on leaving a person for one hour one may have to 
seek him in eternity." 

" Maria is well, thank you," replied Magnus, 

58 



Satan's Diary 

frigidly. He seemed surprised as if my question 
were presumptuous and improper. "And how 
are your affairs, Mr. Wondergood? The Boman 
papers are filled with news of you. You are scor- 
ing a big success/' 

With pain aggravated by the absence of Maria, 
I revealed to Magnus my disappointment and my 
ennui. I spoke well, not without wit and sarcasm. 
I grew more and more provoked by his lack of 
attention and interest, plainly written on his pale 
and weary face. Not once did he smile or venture 
to put any questions, but when I reached the story 
of my "nephew" he frowned in displeasure and 
said: 

4 * Fie ! This is a cheap variety farce ! How can 
you occupy yourself with such trifles, Mr. Won- 
dergood?" 

I replied angrily: 

"But it is not I who am occupying myself 
with them, Signor Magnus ! ' ' 

"And how about the interviews? What about 
that flight of yours ? You should drive them away. 
This humbles your . . . three billions. And is it 
true that you delivered some sort of a sermon?" 

The joy of play forsook me. Unwilling as Mag- 
nus was to listen to me, I told him all about 
my sermon and those credulous fools who swal- 
lowed sacrilege as they do marmalade. 

59 



Satan's Diary 

"And did you expect anything different, Mr\ 
Wondergood?" 

"I expected that they would fall upon me with 
clubs for my audacity: When I sacrilegiously 
bandied about the words of the Testament. . . . ' 

"Yes, they are beautiful words, " agreed Mag- 
nus. ' ' But didn 't you know that all their worship 
of God and all their faith are nothing but sac- 
rilege? When they term a wafer the body of 
Christ, while some Sixtus or Pius reigns undis- 
turbed, and with the approval of all Catholics as 
the Vicar of Christ, why should not you, an Amer- 
ican from Illinois, call yourself at least . . . his 
governor? This is not meant as sacrilege,,, Mr. 
Wondergood. These are simply allegories, highly 
convenient for blockheads, and you are only wast- 
ing your wrath. But when will you get down to 
business?" 

I threw up my hands in skillfully simulated 
sorrow : 

"I want to do something, but I know not what to 
do. I shall probably never get down to business 
until you, Magnus, agree to come to my aid." 

He frowned, at his own large, motionless, white 
hands and then at me : 

"You are too credulous, Mr. Wondergood. This 
is a great fault when one has three billions. No, 

60 



Satan's Diary 

am of no use to you. Our roads are far apart." 

"But, dear Magnus! . . . " 

I expected him to strike me for this gentle dear, 
which I uttered in my best possible falsetto. But 
I ventured to continue. With all the sweetness I 
managed to accumulate in Borne, I looked upon 
the dim physiognomy of my friend and in a still 
gentler falsetto, I asked: 

"And of what nationality are you, my dear 
. . . Signor Magnus? I suspect for some reason 
that you are not Italian?" 

He replied calmly: 

"No, I am not Italian." 

"But where is your country! " 

"My country? . . . Omne solum liberam libero 
patria. I suppose you do not know Latin? It 
means : "Where freedom is there is the fatherland 
of every free man. Will you take breakfast with 
met" 

The invitation was couched in such icy tones 
and Maria's absence was so strongly implied 
therein that I was compelled to decline it politely. 
The devil take this man! I was not at all in a 
merry mood that morning. I fervently wished to 
weep upon his breast while he mercilessly threw 
cold showers upon my noblest transports. I sighed 
and changed my pose. I assumed a pose prepared 

61 



Satan's Diary 

especially for Maria. Speaking in a low voice, I 
said : 

"I want to be frank with you, Signor Magnus. 
My past . . . contains many dark pages, which I 
should like to redeem. I ... " 

He quickly interrupted me : 

"There are dark pages in everybody's past, Mr. 
Wondergood. I myself am not so clear of re- 
proach as to accept the confession of such a wor- 
thy gentleman. " 

"I am a poor spiritual father/' he added with 
a most unpleasant laugh : "I never pardon sinners 
and, in view of that, what pleasure could there be 
for you in your confession. Better tell me some- 
thing more about your nephew. Is he young?" 

We spoke about my nephew and Magnus 
smiled. A pause ensued. Then Magnus asked 
whether I had visited the Vatican gallery and I 
bade him good-by, requesting him to transmit 
my compliments to Maria. I confess I was a sorry 
sight and felt deeply indebted to Magnus when he 
said in bidding me farewell : 

"Do not be angry with me, Mr. Wondergood. I 
am not altogether well to-day and . . . am rather 
worried about my affairs. That's all. I hope to 
be more pleasant when we meet again, but be so 
kind as to excuse me this morning. I shall see 
that Maria gets your compliments." 

62 



Satan's Diary 

If this blackbearded fellow were only playing, 
I confess I would have found a worthy partner. 

A dozen pickaninnies could not have licked off 
the honeyed expression my face assumed at Mag- 
nus' promise to transmit my greetings to Maria. 
All the way back to my hotel I smiled idiotically 
,at the coachman's back and afterwards bestowed 
a kiss on Toppi's brow the canaile still main- 
tains an odor of fur, like a young devil. 

"I see there was profit in your visit, " said Top- 
pi significantly. "How is Magnus' . . . daugh- 
ter! You understand?" 

" Splendid, Toppi, splendid! She said that my 
beauty and wisdom reminded her of Solomon's!" 

Toppi smiled condescendingly at my unsuccess- 
ful jest. The honeyed expression left my face 
and rust and vinegar took the place of the sugar. 
I locked myself in my room and for a long time 
continued to curse Satan for falling in love with 
a woman. 

You consider yourself original, my earthly 
friend, when you fall in love with a woman and 
begin to quiver all over with the fever of love. 
And I do not. I can see the legions of couples, 
from Adam and Eve on ; I can see their kisses and 
caresses ; I can hear the words so cursedly mon- 
otonous, and I begin to detest my own lips dar- 
ing to mumble the mumbling of others, my eyes, 

63 



Satan's Diary 

simulating the gaze of others, my heart, surren- 
dering obediently to the click of the lock of a 
house of shame. I can see all these excited* ani- 
mals in their groaning and their caresses and I 
cry with revulsion at my own mass of bones and 
flesh and nerves! Take care, Satan in human 
form, Deceit is coming over You! 

Won't you take Maria for yourself, my earthly 
friend? Take her. She is yours, not mine. Ah, 
if Maria were my slave, I would putja rope around 
her neck and would take her, naked, to the market 
place : Who will buy? Who will pay the most for 
this unearthly beauty? Ah, do not hurt the poor, 
blind merchant: open wide your purses, jingle 
louder your gold, generous gentlemen! . . . 

What, she will not go? Fear not, Signer, she 
will come and she will love you. . . . This is sim- 
ply her maidenly modesty, Sir! Shall I tie the 
other end of the rope about her and lead her to 
your bed, kind sir? Take the rope along with you. 
I charge nothing for that. Only rid me of this 
heavenly beauty ! She has the face of the radiant 
Madonna. She is the daughter of the honorable 
Thomas Magnus and both of them are thieves : he 
stole his white hands and she her pristine face ! 
Ah ... 

But I am beginning to play with you, dear 
reader? That is a mistake: I have simply taken 

64 



Satan's Diary 

the wrong note book. No, it is not a mistake. It 
is worse. I play because my loneliness is very 
great, very deep I fear, it has no bottom at all! 
I stand on the edge of an abyss and hurl words, 
many heavy words, into it, but they fall without a 
sound. I hurl into it laughter, threats and moans. 
I spit into it. I fling into it heaps of stones and 
rocks. I throw mountains into it and still it 
remains silent and empty. No, really, there is no 
bottom to this abyss and we toil in vain, you and 
I, my friend ! 

. . . But I see your smile and your cunning 
laugh: you understand why I spoke so sourly of 
loneliness. . . . Ah, 'tis love! And you want to 
ask whether I have a mistress! 

Yes : there are two. One is a Eussian countess. 
The other, an Italian countess. They differ only 
in the kind of perfume they use. But this is such 
an immaterial matter that I love them both 
equally. 

You probably wish to ask also whether I shall 
ever visit Magnus again! 

Yes, I shall go to Magnus. I love him very 
much. It matters little that his name is false and 
that his daughter has the audacity to resemble 
the Madonna. I haven't enough of Wondergood 
in me to be particular about a name and I am 

65 



Satan's Diary 

too human not to forgive the efforts of others to 
appear divine. 

I swear by eternal salvation that the one is 
worthy of the other! 

February 21, 1914. 
Eome, Villa Orsini. 

Cardinal X., the closest friend and confidante of 
the Pope, has paid me a visit. He was accom- 
panied by two abbes. In general, he is a person- 
age whose attentions to me have brought me no 
small measure of prestige. 

I met His Eminence in the reception hall of my 
new palace. Toppi was dancing all about the 
priests, snatching their blessings quicker than 
a lover does the kisses of his mistress. Six de- 
vout hands hardly managed to handle one Devil, 
grown pious, and before we had reached the 
threshold of my study, he actually contrived to 
touch the belly of the Cardinal. What ecstasy ! 

Cardinal X. speaks all the European languages 
and, out of respect for the Stars and Stripes and 
my billions, he spoke English. He began the con- 
versation by congratulating me upon the acquisi- 
tion of the Villa Orsini and told me its history in 
detail for the past 200 years. This was quite un- 
expected, very long, at times confusing and un- 
intelligible, so that I was compelled, like a real 

66 



Satan's Diary 

American ass, to blink constantly . . . but this 
gave me an opportunity to study my distinguished 
and eminent visitor. 

He is not at all old. He is broad shouldered, 
well built and in good health. He has a large, 
almost square face, an olive skin, with a bluish 
tinge upon his shaven cheeks, and his thin, but 
beautiful hands reveal his Spanish blood. Be- 
fore he dedicated himself to God, Cardinal X. was 
a Spanish grandee and duke. But his dark eyes 
are too small and too deeply set beneath his thick 
eyebrows and the distance between the short nose 
and the thin lips is too long. . . . All this reminds 
me of some one. But of whom? And what is this 
curious habit I have of being reminded of some 
one? Probably a saint? 

For a moment the cardinal was lost in thought 
and suddenly I recalled: Yes, this is simply a 
shaven monkey! This must be its sad, boundless 
pensiveness, it$ evil gleam within the narrow 
pupil ! 

But in a moment the Cardinal laughed, jested 
and gesticulated like a Neapolitan lazzarone he 
was no longer telling me the history of the palace. 
He was playing, he was interpreting it in facial 
expression and dramatic monologue! He has 
short fingers, not at all like those of a monkey, 
and when he gesticulates he rather resembles a 

67 



Satan's Diary 

penguin while his voice reminds me of a talking 
parrot Who are you, anyhow? 

No, a monkey ! He is laughing again and I ob- 
serve that he really does not know how to laugh. 
It is as if he had learned the human art of laugh- 
ter but yesterday. He likes it but experiences 
considerable difficulty in extracting it from his 
throat. The sounds seem to choke him. It is im- 
possible not to echo this strange contagious laugh- 
ter. But it seems to break one's jaws and teeth 
and to petrify the muscles. 

It was really remarkable. I was fascinated 
when Cardinal X. suddenly cut short his lecture on 
the Villa Orsini by a fit of groaning laughter 
which left him calm and silent. His thin fingers 
played with his rosary, he remained quiet and 
gazed at me with a mien of deepest reverence and 
gentle love: something akin to tears glistened in 
his dark eyes. I had made an impression upon 
him. He loved me ! 

What was I to do ? I gazed into his square, ape- 
like face. Kindliness turned to love, love into 
passion, and still we maintained the silence . . . 
another moment and I would have stifled him in 
my embrace! 

"Well, here you are in Rome, Mr. Wonder- 
good, " sweetly sang the old monkey, without al- 
tering his loving gaze. 



Satan's Diary 

"Here I am in Rome," I agreed obediently, con- 
tinuing to gaze upon him with the same sinful 
passion. 

"And do you know, Mr. Wondergood, why I 
came here, i.e., in addition, of course, to the pleas- 
ure I anticipated in making your acquaintance ! ' ' 

I thought and with my gaze unchanged, replied : 

"For money, Your Eminence!" 

The Cardinal shook, as though flapping his 
wings, laughed, and slapped his knee and again 
lost himself in loving contemplation of my nose. 
This dumb reverence, to which I replied with re- 
doubled zest, began to wield a peculiar influence 
upon me. I purposely tell you all this in detail in 
order that you may understand my wish at that 
moment: to begin cavorting about, to sing like a 
cock, to tell my best Arkansas anecdote, or simply 
to invite His Eminence to remove his regalia and 
play a game of poker! 

"Your Eminence . . ." 

"I love Americans, Mr. Wondergood." 

"Your Eminence! In Arkansas they tell a 
story. . . ." 

"Ah, I see, you want to get down to business t 
I understand your impatience. Money matters 
should never be postponed. Is that not so ? " 

"It depends entirely upon one's concern in these 
matters, Your Eminence." 



^Satan's Diary 

The square face of the Cardinal grew serious, 
and in his eyes there gleamed for a moment a ray 
of loving reproach : 

"I hope you are not vexed at my long disserta- 
tion, Mr. Woridergood. I love so much the his- 
tory of our great city that I could not forego the 
pleasure . . . the things you see before you are 
not Eome. There is no Some, Mr. Wondergood. 
Once upon a time it was the Eternal City, but to- 
day it is simply a large city and the greater it 
grows the further it is from eternity. Where is. 
that great Spirit which once illumined it?" 

I shall not narrate to you all the prattle of this 
purple parrot, his gently-cannibal look, his grim- 
aces and his laughter. All that the old shaven 
monkey told me when it finally grew weary was-: 

"Your misfortune is that you love your fellow 
beings too much. . . . " 

"Love your neighbor. . . ." 

"Well, let neighbors love each other. Go on 
teaching that but why do you want to do it? 
When one loves too well one is blind to the short- 
comings of the beloved abd still worse : one ele- 
vates these faults to virtues. How can you re- 
form people and make them happy without real- 
izing their shortcomings or by ignoring their 
vices? When one loves, one pities and pity is the 
death of power. You s<ee, I am quite frank with 

70 



Satan's Diary 

you, Mr. Wondergood, and I repeat : love is weak- 
ness. Love will get the money out of your pocket 
and will squander it ... on rouge ! Leave love 
to the lower classes. Let them love each other. 
Demand it of them, but you, you have risen to 
greater heights, gifted with such power! . . . 3 

"But what can I do, Your Eminence? I am at a 
loss to understand it all. From my childhood on, 
especially in church, I have had it drummed into 
me that one must love his neighbor, and I believed 
it. And so ... " 

The Cardinal grew pensive. Like laughter, 
pensiveness was becoming to him and rendered 
his square face immovable, filling it with dignity 
and lonely grief. Leaning forward with his lips 
compressed and supporting his chin upon his 
hand, he fixed his sharp, sleepy eyes upon me. 
There was much sorrow in them. He seemed to 
be waiting for the conclusion of my remark, and 
not having patience to do so, sighed and blinked. 

"Childhood, yes" ... he mumbled, still blink- 
ing sorrowfully. ' ' Children, yes. But you are no 
longer a child. Forget this lesson. You must ac- 
quire the heavenly gift of forgetfulness, you 
know. ' ' 

He gnashed his white teeth and significantly 
scratched his nose with his thin finger, continuing 
seriously: 

71 



Satan's Diary 

"But it's all the same, Mr. "Wondergood. You, 
yourself cannot accomplish much. . . . Yes, yes! 
One must know people to make them happy. Isn't 
that your noble aim! But the Church alone knows 
people. She has been a mother and teacher for 
thousands of years. Her experience is the only 
one worth while, and, I may say, the only reliable 
one. As far as I know your career, Mr. Wonder- 
good, you are an experienced cattle man. And 
you know, of course, what experience means even 
in the matter of handling such simple creatures 

flS " 

<ib . . . 

"As swine. . . . " 

He was startled and suddenly began to bark, 
to cough, to whine: he was laughing again. 

"Swine I that's fine, that's splendid, Mr. Won- 
dergood, but do not forget that one finds the 
devil, too, in swine!" 

Ceasing his laughter he proceeded: 

"In teaching others, we learn ourselves. I do 
not contend that all the methods of education and 
training employed by the Church were equally 
successful. No, we often made mistakes, but 
every one of our mistakes served to improve our 
methods ... we are approaching perfection, Mr. 
Wondergood, we are approaching perfection!" 

I hinted at the rapid growth of rationalism 
which, it seemed to me, threatened to destroy the 

72 



Satan's Diary 

11 perfection" of the Church, but Cardinal X. 
again flapped his wings and almost screeched with 
laughter. 

"Rationalism! You are a most talented hu- 
morist, Mr. Wondergood! Tell me, was not the 
celebrated Mark Twain a countryman of yours? 
Yes, yes! Rationalism! Just think a moment. 
From what root is this word derived and what 
does it mean ratio? An nescis, mi filis quantilla 
sapientia rigitur orbisP Ah, my dear Wonder- 
good! To speak of ratio on this earth is more 
out of place than it would be to speak of a rope 
in the home of a man who has just been hanged I" 

I watched the old monkey enjoying himself and 
I enjoyed myself too. I studied this mixture of a 
monkey, parrot, penguin, fox, wolf and what 
not? And it was really funny: I love merry sui- 
cides. For a long time we continued our fun at the 
expense of ratio until His Eminence calmed him- 
self and assumed the tone of a teacher: 

"As anti-Semitism is the Socialism of 
fools . . . " 

"And are you familar ... ?" 

"I told you we are approaching perfec- 
tion! ... So is rationalism the wisdom of fools. 
The wise man goes further. The ratio constitutes 
the holiday dress of a fool. It is the coat he dons 
in the presence of others, but he really lives, 

73 



Satan's Diary 

sleeps, works, loves and dies without any ratio at 
all. Do you fear death, Mr. Wondergood?" 

I did not feel like replying and remained silent. 

<r You need not feel ashamed, Mr. Wonder- 
good : one should fear death. As long as there is 
death . . . " 

The features of the monkey's face suddenly 
contracted and in his eyes there appeared horror 
and wrath : as if some one had seized him by the 
back of his neck and thrust him into the darkness 
and terror of a primeval forest. He feared death 
and his terror was dark, evil and boundless. I 
needed no words of explanation and no other evi- 
dence : One look upon this distorted, befogged and 
confused human face was sufficient to compel rev- 
erence for the Great Irrational! And how weak 
is their steadiness: My Wondergood also grew 
pale and cringed . . . ah, the rogue! He was 
now seeking protection and help from Me ! 

" Will you have some wine, Your Eminence 1" 

But His Eminence was himself again. He 
curved his thin lips into a smile and shook his 
head in the negative. And suddenly he broke out 
again with surprising fury : 

"And as long as there is death, the Church is 
unshakable! Let all of you who seek to under- 
mine her, tear her, and blow her up you cannot 
conquer her. And even if you should succeed in 

74 



Satan's Diary 

I destroying her, the first to perish beneath her 
ruins would be yourselves. Who will then de- 
fend you against death? Who will give you sweet 
faith in immortality, in eternal life, in everlast- 
ing bliss? . . . Believe me, Mr. Wondergood, the 
world is not seeking your ratio. It is all a misun- 
derstanding!" 

"But what does it seek, Your Eminence?" 

"What does it want? Mwidus vidt decipi . . . 
you know our Latin? the world wants to be 
fooled!" 

And the old monkey again grew merry, begun 
to wink, to beam with satisfaction, slapped his 
knee and burst into laughter. I also laughed. 
The rascal was so funny ! 

' ' And is it you, ' ' said I, ' ' who wants to fool it ? " 

The Cardinal again grew serious and replied 
sadly : 

"The Holy See needs funds, Mr. Wondergood. 
The world, while it has not grown rational, has 
become weaker in its faith and it is somewhat 
difficult to manage it." 

He signed and continued: 

; 'You are not a Socialist, Mr. Wondergood? 
Ah, do not be ashamed. We are all Socialists now. 
We are all on the side of the hungry: the more 
satisfied they will be, the more they will fear 
death. You understand ? ' ' 

75 



Satan's Diary 

He flung out his arms and drew them in again, 
like a net filled with fish and said: 

"We are fishermen, Mr. Wondergood, humble 
fishermen! . . . And tell me: do you regard the 
desire for liberty as a virtue or a vice?" 

"The entire civilized world regards the desire 
for liberty as a virtue," I replied angrily. 

"I expected no other reply from a citizen of the 
United States. But don't you personally believe 
that he who will give man limitless freedom will 
also bring him death? Death alone releases all 
earthly ties. And don't you regard the words 
'freedom' and i death' as synonymous?" 

"I speak of political liberty." 

"Of political liberty? Oh, we have no objec- 
tion to that. You can have as much as you please 
of that ! Of course, provided men themselves ask 
for it. Are you sure they really want it? If they 
do, please help yourself! It is all nonsense and 
calumny to say that the Holy See is in favor of 
reaction. ... I had the honor to be present on 
the balcony of the Vatican when His Holiness 
blessed the first French aeroplane that appeared 
over Eome, and the next Pope, I am sure, will 
gladly bless the barricades. The time of Galilee 
has passed, Mr. Wondergood, and we all know 
now that the earth does move!" 

76 



Satan's Diary 

He drew a circle in the air with his finger, indi- 
cating the revolution of the earth. 

I said: 

"You must permit me to think over your pro- 
posal, Your Eminence." 

Cardinal X. jumped up from his chair and 
gently touched my shoulder with two of his aris- 
tocratic fingers : 

"Oh, I am not hurrying you, my good Mr. Won- 
dergood. It was you who were hurrying me. I 
am even convinced that you will at first refuse 
me, but when, after some little experience, you 
will have realized the real needs of man ... I, 
too, love man, Mr. Wondergood, to be sure, not 
so passionately and . . . ' 

He departed with the same grimaces, bearing 
himself with dignity and dispensing blessings all 
about him. I saw him again through the window 
at the entrance of the palace, while the coachman 
was bringing up the carriage: he was speaking 
into the ear of one of his abbes, whose face re- 
sembled a black plate. The Cardinal's counte- 
nance no longer reminded me of a monkey : it was 
rather the face of a shaven, hungry, tired lion. 
This able actor needed no dressing room for his 
make-up! Behind him stood a tall lackey, all 
dressed in black, reminding one of an English 
baronet. Whenever His Eminence turned about 

77 



Satan's Diary 

in his direction, he would respectfully lift his 
faded silk hat. 



Following the departure of His Eminence I 
was surrounded by a merry group of friends, 
with whom I had filled the spare rooms of my 
palace for the purpose of alleviating my loneli- 
ness and ennui. Toppi looked proud and happy: 
he was so satiated with blessings that he fairly 
bulged. The artists, decorators and others what- 
ever you call them were greatly impressed by 
the Cardinal's visit, and spoke with much glee of 
the remarkable expression of his face and the 
grandeur of his manner! The Pope himself . . . 
But when I remarked with the naivete of a Ked- 
skin that he reminded me of a monkey, the shrewd 
canailes burst into loud laughter and one of them 
immediately sketched a portrait of Cardinal X. 
in a cage. I am not a moralist to judge other peo- 
ple for their petty sins : they will get what is due 
them on their Judgment Day and I was much 
pleased by the cleverness of the laughing beasts. 
They do not appear to have much faith in love 
for one's fellow beings and if I should rummage 
about among their drawings, I would probably 
find a pretty good sketch of the ass Wondergood. 
I like that. I find relief in communion with my 

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Satan's Diary 

little, pleasant sinners, from the babbling of the 
great and disagreeable saints . . . whose hands 
are covered with blood. 

Then Toppi asked me: "And how much does he 
want!" 

"He wants all!" 

Toppi said with determination: 

"Don't you give him all. He promised to make 
me a prelate, but, all the same, don't you give 
him all. One should save his money." 

Every day I have unpleasant experiences with 
Toppi: people are constantly foisting counterfeit 
coin on him. When they first gave him some, he 
was greatly perturbed and was impressed with 
what I said to him. 

"You really astonish me, Toppi," I said, "it is 
ridiculous for an old devil like you to accept coun- 
terfeit money from human beings, and allow your- 
self to be fooled. You ought to be ashamed of 
yourself, Toppi. I fear you will make a beggar 
of me." 

Now, however, Toppi, entangled in the mesh of 
the counterfeit and the genuine, seeks to preserve 
both the one and the other: he is quite clever in 
money matters and the Cardinal tried in vain to 
bribe him. Toppi a prelate! . . . 

But the shaven monkey does really want my 
three billions. Apparently the belly of the Holy 

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Satan's Diary 

See is rumbling with hunger. I gazed long at the 
well executed caricature of the Cardinal and the 
longer I gazed, the less I liked it : no, there was 
something missing. The artist had sensed the 
ridiculous pretty well, but I do not see that fire 
of spite and malice which is in constant play be- 
neath the gray ashes of terror. The bestial 
and the human is here, but it is not molded into 
that extraordinary mask which, now that a long 
distance separates me from the Cardinal and I 
no longer hear his heavy laughter, is beginning 
to exercise a most disagreeable influence over me. 
Or is it because the extraordinary is inexpres- 
sible through pencil? 

In reality he is a cheap rascal, no better than a 
plain pickpocket, and told me nothing new : he is 
human enough and wise enough to cultivate that 
contemptuous laughter of his at the expense of 
the rational. But he revealed himself to me and 
do not take offense at my American rudeness, dear 
reader: somewhere behind his broad shoulders, 
cringing with terror, there gleamed also your dear 
countenance. It was like a dream, you under- 
stand : it was as if some one were strangling you, 
and you, in stifled voice, cried to heaven : Murder! 
Police ! Ah, you do not know that third, which is 
neither life nor death, and I know who it was that 
was strangling you with his bony fingers! 

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Satan's Diary 

But do I know? Oh, laugh at him who is 
laughing at you, comrade. I fear your turn is 
coming to have some fun at my expense. Do I 
know? I came to you from the innermost depths, 
merry and serene, blessed in the consciousness of 
my Immortality. . . . And I am already hesitat- 
ing. I am already trembling before this shaven 
monkey's face which dares to express its own low 
horror in such audaciously grand style: Ah, I 
have not even sold my Immorality : I have simply 
crushed it in my sleep, as does a foolish mother 
her newborn babe. It has simply faded beneath 
your sun and rains. It has become a transparent 
cloth without design, unfit to cover the nakedness 
of a respectable gentleman ! This reeking Won- 
dergood swamp in which I am submerged to my 
eyes, envelops me with mire, befogs my con- 
sciousness and stifles me with the unbearable odors 
of decay. When do you usually begin to decay, 
my friend : on the second, the third day or does it 
depend upon the climate ? I am already in the proc- 
ess of decay, and I am nauseated by the odor of 
my entrails. Or are you so used to the work of 
the worms that you take it for the elevation of 
thought and inspiration? 

My God, I forgot that I may have some fair 
readers, too! I most humbly beg your pardon, 
worthy folk, for this uncalled for discussion of 

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Satan's Diary 

odors. I am a most unpleasant conversationalist, 
milady, and as a perfumer I am worse . . . no, 
still worse: I am a disgusting mixture of Satan 
and an American bear, and I know not how to ap- 
preciate your good taste. . . . 

No, I am still Satan! I still know that I am 
immortal and when my will shall command me 
I will strangle myself with my own bony fingers. 
But if I should forget? 

Then I shall distribute my wealth among the 
poor and with you, my friend, shall crawl up to 
the old shaven monkey. I shall cling with my 
American face to his soft slipper, emitting bles- 
sings. I shall weep. I shall rave with horror: 
"Save me from Death 1" And the old monkey, 
brushing the hair from his face, reclining comfort- 
ably, gleaming with a holy light, illuminating all 
about it and itself trembling with fear and hor- 
ror will hastily continue to fool the world, the 
world which so loves to be fooled! 

But I am jesting. I wish to be serious now. I 
like Cardinal X. and I shall permit him to be- 
gild himself with my gold. I am weary. I must 
sleep. My bed and Wondergood await me. I 
shall extinguish the light and in the darkness I 
shall listen for a moment to the clicking of the 
counting machine within my breast. And then 
will oome the great pianist, a drunken genius, and 

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Satan's Diary 

begin drumming upon the black keys of my 
brain. He knows everything and has forgotten 
everything, this ingenious drunkard, and confuses 
the most inspiring landscapes with a swamp. 
That is a dream. 



83 



n 



February 22. 
Borne, Villa Orsini. 

MAGNUS was not at home. I was received 
by Maria. 

A glorious peace has suddenly de- 
scended upon me. In wondrous calm I breathe at 
this moment. Like a schooner, its sails lowered, 
I doze in the midday heat of the slumbering ocean. 
Not a stir. Not a ripple. I fear to move or to 
open wide my eyes, dazzled by the rays of the 
sun. I breathe silently, and I would not rouse the 
slightest wave upon the boundless smoothness of 
the sea. And quietly I lay down my pen. 



February 23. 
Villa Orsini. 

Thomas Magnus was not at home and, to my 
great surprise, I was received by Maria, 

I do not suppose you would be interested in how 
I greeted her and what I mumbled in the first few 
moments of our meeting. I can only say that I 

84 



Satan's Diary 

mumbled and that I felt a strong impulse to laugh. 
I could not lift my eyes to gaze upon Maria until 
my thoughts cast off their soiled garb and 
donned clean attire. As you see, I did not lose 
consciousness altogether! But in vain did I take 
these precautions: that torture did not follow. 
Maria's gaze was clear and simple and it con- 
tained neither searching, penetrating fire nor 
fatal forgiveness. It was calm and clear, like the 
sky of the Campagna and I do not know how it 
happened it penetrated my entire being. 

She met me in the garden. We sat down by the 
gate, from which vantage point we had a good 
view of the Campagna. When you gaze at the 
Campagna you cannot prattle nonsense. No, it 
was she who gazed at the Campagne and I gazed 
into her eyes clear to the seventh sky, where you 
end the count of your heavens. We were silent 
or if you regard the following as conversation 
we spoke: 

"Are those mountains?" 

"Yes, those are the mountains- of Albania. 
And there is Tivoli." 

She picked out little white houses in the distance 
and pointed them out to me and I felt a peculiar 
calm and joy in Maria's gaze. The suspicious 
resemblance of Maria to the Madonna no longer 
troubled me: how can I possibly be troubled by 

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Satan's Diary 

the fact that you resemble yourself? And came 
a moment when a great peace of mind descended 
npon me. I have no words of comparison 
whereby to reveal to you that great and bright 
calm ... I am forever conjuring up before me 
that accursed schooner with its lowered sails, on 
which I never really sailed, for I am afraid of sea- 
sickness! Or is it because on this night of my 
loneliness, my road is being illuminated by the 
Star of the Seas? Well, yes, I was a schooner, if 
you so desire it, and if this is not agreeable to you 
I was All. Besides I was Nothing. You see what 
nonsense emerges out of all this talk when 
Wondergood begins to seek words and compari- 
sons. 

I was so calm that I even soon began to gaze 
into Maria's eyes : I simply believed them. This 
is deeper than mere gazing. When necessary I 
shall find those eyes again. In the meantime I 
shall remain a schooner with sails lowered. I 
shall be All and I shall be Nothing. Only once 
did a slight breeze stir my sails, but only for a 
moment: that was when Maria pointed out the 
Tiberian road to me, cutting the green hills like a 
white thread, and asked whether I had ever 
traversed it before. 

"Yes, occasionally, Signorina." 

"I often gaze upon this road and think that it 

86 



Satan's Diary 

must be extremely pleasant to traverse it by auto- 
mobile. " 

"Have you a swift car, Signor!" 

"Oh, yes, Signorina, very swift! But those," 
I continued in gentle reproach, "who are them- 
selves limitless distances and endlessness are in 
no need of any movement." 

Maria and an automobile ! A winged angel en- 
tering a trolley car for the sake of speed! A 
swallow riding on a turtle! An arrow on the 
humpy back of a hod carrier! Ah, all compari- 
sons lie : why speak of swallows and arrows, why 
speak of any movement for Maria, who embraces 
all distances ! But it is only now that I thought 
of the trolley and the turtle. At that time I felt 
so calm and peaceful, I was deep in such bliss that 
I could think of nothing except that countenance 
of eternity and undying light ! 

A great calm came upon Me on that day and 
nothing could disturb my endless bliss. It was 
not long before Thomas Magnus returned, and a 
flying fish, gleaming for a moment above the 
ocean, could no more disturb its blue smoothness 
than did Magnus disturb me. I received him into 
my heart. I swallowed him calmly and felt no 
heavier burden in my stomach than a whale does 
after swallowing a herring. It was gratifying to 
find Magnus hospitable and merry. He pressed 

87 



Satan's Diary 

my hand and his eyes were bright and kind. Even 
his face seemed less pale and not as weary as 
usual. 

I was invited to breakfast . . . lest it worry 
you, let me say right now that I remained until 
late in the evening. When Maria had retired I 
told Magnus of the visit of Cardinal X. His 
merry face darkened slightly and in his eyes ap- 
peared his former hostile flame. 

" Cardinal X.? He came to see you?" 

I narrated to him in detail my conversation 
with "the shaven monkey," and remarked that he 
had impressed me as a scoundrel of no small 
caliber. Magnus frowned and said sternly : 

"You laugh in vain, Mr. Wondergood. I have 
long known Cardinal X. and ... I have been 
keeping a close eye on him. He is evil, cruel and 
dangerous. Despite his ridiculous exterior, he is 
as cunning, merciless and revengeful as Satan!" 

And you, too, Magnus! Like Satan! This 
blue-faced, shaven orang-outang, this caressing 
guerilla, this monkey cavorting before a looking- 
glass ! But I have exhausted my capacity for in- 
sult. Magnus' remark fell like a stone to the 
bottom of my bliss. I listened further: 

"His flirting with the Socialists, his jokes at the 
expense of Galilee are all lies. Just as the 
enemies of Cromwell hanged him after his death, 

68 



Satan's Diary 

so would Cardinal X. burn the bones of Galilee 
with immense satisfaction : to this day he regards 
the movement of the earth as a personal affront. 
It is an old school, Mr. Wondergood; he will stop 
at nothing to overcome obstacles, be it poison or 
murder, which he will take care to attribute to the 
misfortune of accident. You smile but I cannot 
discuss the Vatican smilingly, not so long as it 
contains such . . . and it will always produce 
some one like Cardinal X. Look out, Mr. 
Wondergood: You have landed within the 
sphere of his vision and interests, and, let me as- 
sure you, that scores of eyes are now watching 
you . . . perhaps me, too. Be on your guard, 
my friend !" 

Magnus was quite excited. Fervently I shook 
his hand: 

"Ah, Magnus! 4 . . But when will you agree 
to help me!" 

"But you know that I do not like human beings. 
It is you who loves them Mr. Wondergood, not 
I." 

A gleam of irony appeared in his eyes. 

"The Cardinal says that it is not at all neces- 
sary to love people in order to be happy. . . . 
The contrary, he says!" 

"And who told you that I want to make people 
happy? Again, it is you who wants to do that, 

89 



Satan's Diary 

not I. Hand over your billions to Cardinal X. 
His recipe for happiness is not worse than other 
patent medicines. To be sure, his recipe has on< 
disadvantage: while dispensing happiness it de- 
stroys people . . . but is that important? You 
are too much of a business man, Mr. Wondergood, 
and I see that you are not sufficiently familiar 
with the world of our inventors of the Best Means 
for the Happiness of Mankind: These means are 
more numerous than the so-called best tonics for 
the growth of hair. I myself was a dreamer at 
one time and invented one or two in my youth . . . 
but I was short on chemistry and badly singed my 
hair in an explosion. I am very glad I did not 
come across your billions in those days. I am 
joking, Mr. Wondergood, but if you wish to be 
serious, here is my answer: keep on growing and 
multiplying your hogs, make four of your three 
billions, continue selling your conserves, provided 
they are not too rotten, and cease worrying about 
the happiness of Mankind. As long as the world 
likes good ham it will not deny you its love and 
admiration !' ' 

"And how about those who have no means to 
buy ham?" 

"What do you care about them? It is their 
belly pardon me for the expression that is 
rumbling with hunger, not yours. I congratulate 

90 ' 



Satan's Diary 

you upon your new home : I know the Villa Orsini 
very well. It is a magnificent relic of Old Borne. " 

I balked at the prospect of another lecture on 
my palace! Yes, Magnus had again shoved me 
aside. He did it brusquely and roughly. But his 
voice lacked sternness and he gazed at me softly 
and kindly. Well, what of it? To the devil with 
humanity, its happiness and its ham ! I shall try 
later to bore an entrance into Magnus' brain. 
In the meantime leave me alone with my great 
peace and . . . Maria. Boundless peace and 
. . . Satan! isn't that a splendid touch in my 
play? And what kind of a liar is he who can fool 
only others? To lie to oneself and believe it 
that is an art ! 

After breakfast all three of us walked over the 
downy hills and slopes of the Campagna. It was 
still early Sprmg and only little white flowers 
gently brightened the young, green earth. A soft 
breeze diffused the scents of the season, while 
little houses gleamed in distant Albano. Maria 
walked in front of us, stopping now and then and 
casting her heavenly eyes upon everything they 
could envisage. When I return to Borne I shall 
order my brush-pusher to paint Madonna thus : 
On a carpet of soft green and little white flowers. 
Magnus was so frank and merry that I again drew 
his attention to Maria's resemblance to the Ma- 

91 



Satan's Diary 

donna and told him of the miserable brush-pushers 
in search of a model. He laughed, agreed with 
me in my opinion of the aforementioned resem- 
blance, and grew wistful. 

"It is a fatal resemblance, Mr. Wondergood. 
You remember that heavy moment when I spoke 
to you of blood? Already there is blood at the 
feet of Maria . . . the blood of one noble youth 
whose memory Maria and I cherish. There are 
fatal faces, there are fatal resemblances which 
confuse our souls and lead to the abyss of self 
destruction. I am the father of Maria, and yet I 
myself hardly dare to touch her brow with my 
lips. What insurmountable barriers does love 
raise for itself when it dares to lift its eyes upon 
Mariaf" 

This was the only moment of that happy day 
when my ocean became overcast with heavy 
clouds, as tangled as the beard of "Mad King 
Lear," while a wild wind shook the sails of my 
schooner. But I lifted my eyes to Maria, I met 
her gaze. It was bright and calm, like the sky 
above us and the wild wind disappeared without 
trace, bearing away with it fragments of the dark- 
ness. I do not know whether you understand 
these sea comparisons, which I consider quite in- 
adequate. Let me explain: I again grew quite 
calm. What is that noble Eoman youth to me, 

92 



Satan's Diary 

who himself unable to find comparisons was 
hurled over the head of his Pegasus? I am a 
white-winged schooner and beneath me is an en- 
tire ocean, and was it not written of Her: the 
Incomparable? 

The day was long and quiet and I was charmed 
with the precision with which the sun rolled down 
from its height to the rim of the earth, with the 
measured pace with which the stars covered the 
heavens, the large stars first, then the little ones, 
until the whole sky sparkled and gleamed. Slowly 
grew the darkness. Then came the rosy moon, at 
first somewhat rusty, then brilliant, and swam 
majestically over the road made free and warm 
by the sun. But more than anything else did I 
and Magnus feel charmed when we sat in the half- 
darkened room and heard Maria: she played the 
harp and sang. 

And listening to the strains of the harp I re- 
alized why man likes music produced by taut 
strings : I was myself a taut string and even when 
the finger no longer touched me, the sound con- 
tinued to vibrate and died so slowly that I can 
still hear it in the depths of my soul. And sud- 
denly I saw that the entire air was filled with taut 
and trembling strings : they extend from star to 
star, scatter themselves over the earth and pene- 
trate my heart . . . like a network of telephone 

93 



Satan's Diary 

wires through a central station, if you want 
more simple comparisons. And there was some- 
thing else I understood when I heard Maria's 
voice. . . . 

No, you are simply an animal, Wondergoodl. 
When I recall your loud complaints against love 
and its songs, cursed with the curse of monotony 
is that not your own expression? I feel like 
sending you off to a barn. You are a dull and 
dirty animal and I am ashamed that for a whole 
hour I listened to your silly bellowing. You may 
hold words in contempt, you may curse your em- 
braces, but do not touch Love, my friend: only 
through love has it been given to you to obtain a 
glimpse into Eternity ! Away, my friend ! Leave 
Satan to himself, he who in the very blackest 
depths of man has suddenly come upon new and 
unexpected flames. Away! You must not see 
the joy and astonishment of Satan! 

The hour was late. The moon indicated mid- 
night when I left Magnus and ordered the 
chauffeur to drive by way of the Numentinian 
road: I feared lest this great calm might slip 
away from me, and I wanted to overtake it in the 
depths of the Campagna. But the speed of the 
car broke the silence and I left my machine. It 
went to sleep at once beneath the light of the moon 
over its own shadow and looked like a huge, gray 

94 



Satan's Diary 

stone barring the road. For the last time its 
lights gleamed npon Me and it became trans- 
formed into something invisible. I was left alone 
with my shadow. 

We walked along the white road, I and my 
shadow, stopping occasionally and then again re- 
suming our march. I sat down on a stone along 
the road and the black shadow hid behind my 
back. And here a great quiet descended upon 
the earth, upon the world. Upon my chilled brow 
I felt the cool touch of the moon's kiss. 



March 2. 

Eome, Villa Orsini. 

I pass my days in deep solitude. My earthly 
existence is beginning to trouble me. With every 
hour I seem to forget what I have left behind the 
wall of human things. My eyesight is weakening. 
I can hardly see behind that wall. The shadows 
behind it scarcely move and I can no longer dis- 
tinguish their outline. With every second my 
sense of hearing grows duller. I hear the quiet 
squeak of a mouse, fussing beneath the floor but 
I am deaf to the thunders rolling above my head. 
The silence of delusion envelops me and I 
desperately strain my ears to catch the voices of 
frankness. I left them behind that impenetrable 

95 



Satan's Diary 

wall. With each moment Truth flees from Me. 
In vain my words try to overtake it : they merely 
shoot by. In vain I seek to surround it in the 
tight embraces of my thoughts and rivet it with 
chains : the prison disappears like air and my em- 
braces envelop nothing but emptiness. Only 
yesterday it seemed to me that I had caught my 
prey. I imprisoned it and fastened it to the wall 
with a heavy chain, but when I came to view it in 
the morning I found iiothing but a shackled 
skeleton. The rusty chains dangled loosely from 
its neck while the skull was nodding to me in 
brazen laughter. 

You see, I am again seeking comparisons, only 
to have the Truth escape me ! But what can I do 
when I have left all my weapons at home and must 
resort to your poor arsenal? Let God himself 
don this human form and He will immediately 
begin to speak to you in exquisite French or Yid- 
dish and He will be unable to say more than it is 
possible to say in exquisite French or Yiddish. 
God! And I am only Satan, a modest, careless, 
human Devil! 

Of course, it was careless of me. But when I 
looked upon your human life from beyond . . . 
no, wait : You and I have just been caught in a 
lie, old man! When I said from Beyond you 
understood at once it must have been very far 

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Satan's Diary 

away. Yes ? You may have already determined, 
perhaps, the approximate number of miles. Have 
you not at your disposal a limitless number of 
zeros? Ah, it is not true. My "Beyond" is as 
close as your "Here" and is no further away 
than this very spot. You see what nonsense, what 
a lie you and I are pirouetting about ! Cast away 
your meter and your scales and only listen as if 
behind your back there were no ticking of a clock 
and in your breast there were no counting 
machine. And so: when I looked upon your life 
from Beyond it appeared to Me a great and merry 
game of immortal fragments. 

Do you know what a puppets' show is? When 
one doll breaks, its place is taken by another, but 
the play goes on. The music is not silenced, the 
auditors continue to applaud and it is all very in- 
teresting. Does the spectator concern himself 
about the fate of the fragments, thrust upon the 
scrap heap? He simply looks on in enjoyment. 
So it was with me, too. I heard the beat of the 
drums, and watched the antics of the clowns. And 
I so love immortal play that I felt like becoming 
an actor myself. Ah, I did not know then that it 
is not a play at all. And that the scrap heap was 
terrible when one becomes a puppet himself and 
that the broken fragments reeked with blood. 
You deceived me, my friend ! 

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Satan's Diary 

But you are astonished. You knit your brow 
in contempt and ask : Who is this Satan who does 
not know such simple things? You are ac- 
customed to respect the Devil. You listen to the 
commonest dog as if he were speaking ex 
cathedra. You have surrendered to me your last 
dollar as if I were a professor of white and black 
magic and suddenly I reveal myself an ignoramus 
in the most elementary matters! I understand 
your disappointment. I myself have grown to 
respect mediums and cards. I am ashamed to 
confess that I cannot perform a single trick or 
kill a bedbug by simply casting my eye upon 
it, but even with my finger. But what matters 
most to me is truth: Yes, I did not know your 
simplest things! Apparently the blame for this 
is for that divide which separates us. Just as 
you do not know my real Name and cannot pro- 
nounce a simple thing like that, so I did not know 
yours, my earthly shadow, and only now, in great 
ecstasy do I begin to grasp the wealth that is in 
you. Think of it : such a simple matter as count- 
ing I had to learn from Wondergood. I would 
not even be able to button my attire if it were not 
for the experienced and dexterous fingers of that 
fine chap Wondergood ! 

Now I am human, like you. The limited sen- 
sation of my being I regard as my knowledge and 

98 






Satan's Diary 

with respect I now touch my own nose, when 
necessity arises : it is not merely a nose it is an 
axiom ! I am now myself a struggling doll in a 
theater of marionettes. My porcelain head moves 
to the right and to the left. My hands move up 
and down. I am merry, I am gay. I am at play. 
I know everything . . . except : whose hand it is 
that pulls the string behind Me. And in the 
distance I can see the scrap heap from which pro- 
trude two little feet clad in ball slippers. . . . 

No, this is not the play of the Immortal that I 
sought. It no more resembles merriment than 
do the convulsions of an epileptic a good negro 
dance ! Here any one is what he is and here every 
one seeks not to be what he is. And it is this end- 
less process of fraud that I mistook for a merry 
theater : what a mistake, how silly it was of t ' al- 
mighty, immortal" . . . Satan! Here every one 
is dragging every one else to court : the living are 
dragging the dead, the dead the living. The 
history of the former is the history of the latter. 
And God, too, is History ! And this endless non- 
sense, this dirty stream of false witnesses, of per- 
jurers, of false judges and false scoundrels I mis- 
took for the play of immortals ! Or have I landed 
in the wrong place? Tell Me, stranger: whither 
does this road lead? You are pale. Your 

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Satan's Diary 

trembling finger points in the direction of . . . 
ah, the scrap heap! 

Yesterday, I questioned Toppi about his former 
life, the first time he donned the human form: I 
wanted to know how a doll feels when its head is 
cracking and the thread which moves it is severed. 
We lit our pipes and with steins of beer before 
us, like two good Germans, we ventured into the 
realm of philosophy. It developed, however, that 
this numbskull has forgotten everything and my 
questions only confused him. 

"Is it possible that you have really forgotten 
everything, Toppi I" 

"Wait till you die and you will learn all about 
it yourself. I do not like to think of it. What 
good is it?" 

"Then it is not good?" 

"And have you ever heard of any one praising 
it?" 

"Quite true. No one has yet showered praises 
upon it." 

"And no one will, I know!" 

We sat silent. 

"And do you remember, Toppi, whence you 
have come?" 

"From Illinois, the same place you come 
from." 

"No, I am speaking of something else. Do you 
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Satan's Diary 

remember whence you came? Do you recollect 
your real Name!" 

Toppi looked at me strangely, paled" slightly 
and proceeded to clean his pipe. Then he arose 
and without lifting his eyes, said : 

"I beg you not to speak to me thus, Mr. 
Wondergood. I am an honest citizen of the 
United States and I do not understand your in- 
sinuations." 

But he remembers. Not in vain did he grow 
pale. He is seeking to forget and will forget soon 
enough ! This double play of earth and heaven is 
too much for him and he has surrendered entirely 
to the earth! There will come a time when he 
will take me off to an insane asylum or betray me 
to Cardinal X. if I dare to speak to him of Satan. 

"I respect you, Toppi. You are quite a man," 
I said and kissed his brow: I always kiss the 
brow of people I love. 

Again I departed for the green Campagna 
desert: I follow the best models : when I am ill at 
ease I go into the desert. There I called for Satan 
and cursed his name but he would would not 
answer me. I lay there long in the dust, plead- 
ing, when from somewhere in the depths of the 
desert I heard the muffled tread of feet, and a 
bright light helped Me to arise. And again I saw 
the Eden I had left behind, its green tents and 

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Satan's Diary 

unfading sunrise, its quiet lights upon the placid 
waters. And again I heard the silent murmurs 
of lips born of Immaculate Conception while 
toward my eyes I saw approaching Truth. And 
I stretched out my hands to Her and pleaded: 
Give me back my liberty ! 

"Maria!" 

Who called : Maria ? Satan again departed, the 
lights upon the placid waters were extinguished 
and Truth, frightened, disappeared and again I 
sit upon the earth wearing my human form and 
gazing dully upon the painted world. And on my 
knees rested my shackled hands. 

"Maria!" 

... It is painful for me to admit that all 
this is really an invention: the coming of Satan 
with his "light and ringing step," the gardens of 
Eden and my shackled hands. But I needed your 
attention and I could not get it without these 
gardens of Eden and these chains, the two ex- 
tremes of your life. The gardens of Eden how 
beautiful ! Chains how terrible ! Moreover, all 
this talk is much more entertaining than merely 
squatting on a hill, cigar in one's free hand, think- 
ing lazily and yawning while awaiting the arrival 
of the chauffeur. And as far as Maria is con- 
cerned, I brought her into the situation because 
from afar I could see the black cypress trees 

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Satan's Diary 

above the Magnus home. An involuntary as- 
sociation of ideas . . . you understand. 

Can a man with such sight really see Satan? 
Can a person of such dull ear hear the so-called 
"murmurs" born of Immaculate Conception? 
Nonsense! And, please, I beg of you, call Me 
just Wondergood. Call me just Wondergood 
until the day when I crack my skull open with that 
plaything which opens the most narrow door into 
limitless space* -Call me just Henry Wonder- 
good, of Illinois : you will find that I will respond 
promptly and obligingly. 

But if, some day, you should find my head 
crushed, examine carefully its fragments: there, in 
red ink will be engraved the proud name of Satan ! 
Bend thy head, in reverence and bow to him but 
do not do me the honor of accompanying my frag- 
ments to the scrap heap: one should never bow 
so respectfully to chains cast off! 

March 9, 1914. 
Kome, Villa Orsini. 

Last night I had an important conversation 
with Thomas Magnus. When Maria had retired 
I began as usual to prepare to return home but 
Magnus detained me. 

"Why go, Mr. Wondergood? Stay here for 
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Satan's Diary 

the night. Stay here and listen to the barking of 
Mars!" 

For several days dense clonds had been gather- 
ing over Borne and a heavy rain had been beating 
down upon its walls and ruins. This morning I 
read in a newspaper a very portentous weather 
bulletin : cielo nuvolo il vento forte e mare molto 
agitato. Toward evening the threat turned into 
a storm and the enraged sea hurled across a 
range of ninety miles its moist odors upon the 
walls of Kome. And the real Eoman sea, the bil- 
lowy Campagna, sang forth with all the voices of 
the tempest, like the ocean, and at moments it 
seemed that its immovable hills, its ancient waves, 
long evaporated by the sun, had once more come 
to life and moved forward upon the city walls. 
Mad Mars, this creator of terror and tempest, 
flew like an arrow across its wide spaces, crushed 
the head of every blade of grass to the ground, 
sighed and panted and hurled heavy gusts of wind 
into the whining cypress trees. Occasionally he 
would seize and hurl the nearest objects he could 
lay his hands upon : the brick roofs of the houses 
shook beneath his blows and their stone walls 
roared as if inside the very stones the imprisoned 
wind was gasping and seeking an escape. 

We listened to the storm all evening. Maria 
was calm but Magnus was visibly nervous, con- 

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Satan's Diary 

stantly rubbed his white hands and listened in- 
tently to the antics of the wind : to its murderous 
whistle, its roar and its signs, its laughter and its 
groans . . . the wild-haired artist was cunning 
enough to be slayer and victim, to strangle and to 
plead for mercy at one and the same time! If 
Magnus had the moving ears of an animal, they 
would have remained immovable. His thin nose 
trembled, his dim eyes grew dark, as if they re- 
flected the shadows of the clouds, his thin lips 
were twisted into a quick and strange smile. I, 
too, was quite excited : it was the first time since I 
became human I had heard such a storm and it 
raised in me a white terror: almost with the 
horror of a child I avoided the windows, beyond 
which lay the night. Why does it not come here, 
I thought: can the window pane possibly keep it 
out if it should wish to break through? . . . 

Some one knocked at the iron gates several 
times, the gates at which I and Toppi once 
knocked for admission. 

"That is my chauffeur, who has come to fetch 
me," said I: "we must admit him." 

Magnus glanced at me from the corner of his 
eye and remarked sadly: 

"There is no road on that side of the house. 
There is nothing but field there. That is mad 
Mars who is begging for admittance." 

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Satan's Diary 

And as if he had actually heard his words, Mars 
broke out into laughter and disappeared 
whistling. But the knocking was soon resumed. 
It seemed as if some one were tearing off the iron 
gates and several voices, shouting and interrupt-, 
ing each other, were anxiously speaking; an in- 
fant was heard weeping. 

" Those must be people who have lost their way 
. . . you hear an infant! We must open the 
gates. " 

"Well, we'll see," said Magnus angrily. 

"I will go with you, Magnus." 

"Sit still, Wondergood. This friend of mine, 
here, is quite enough . ." He quickly drew 
that revolver from the table drawer and with a 
peculiar expression of love and even gentleness 
he grasped it in his broad hand and carefully hid 
it in his pocket. He walked out and we could hear 
the cry that met him at the gate. 

On that evening I somehow avoided Maria's 
eyes and I felt quite ill at ease when we were left 
alone. And suddenly I felt like sinking to the 
floor, and kneeling before her so that her dress 
might touch my face : I felt as if I had hair on my 
back, that sparks would at any moment begin to 
fly if some one were to touch it and that this would 
relieve me. Thus, in my mind, I moved closer 
and closer to Her, when Magnus returned and 

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Satan's Diary 

silently put the revolver back into the drawer. 
The voices at the door had ceased and the knock- 
ing, too. 

"Who was that?" . . . asked Maria. 

Magnus angrily shook off the drops of rain 
upon his coat. 

"Crazy Mars. Who else did you expect?" 

"But I thought I heard you speak to him?" I 
jested, trying to conceal the shiver produced by 
the cold brought in by Magnus. 

"Yes, I told him it was not polite to drag 
about with him such suspicions company. He ex- 
cused himself and said he would come no more," 
Magnus laughed and added: "I am convinced that 
all the murderers of Eome and the Campagna are 
to-night threatening to ambush people and hug- 
ging their stilettos as if they were their sweet- 
hearts. ..." 

Again came a muffled and timid knock. 

"Again!" cried Magnus, angrily, as if Mad 
Mars had really promised to knock no more. 
But the knock was followed by the ring of a bell : 
it was my chauffeur. Maria retired, while I, as 
I have already said, had been invited by Magnus 
to remain overnight, to which I agreed, after some 
hesitation : I was not at all taken by Magnus and 
his revolver, and still less was I attracted by the 
silly darkness. 

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Satan's Diary 

The kind host himself went out to dismiss the 
chauffeur. Through the window I could see the 
bright lights of the lanterns of the machine and 
for a moment I yearned to return home to my 
pleasant sinners, who were probably imbibing 
their wine at that moment in expectation of my 
return. . . . Ah, I' have long since abandoned 
philanthropy and am now leading the life of a 
drunkard and a gambler/ And again, as on that 
first night, the quiet little white house, this soul 
of Maria, looked terrible and suspicious : this re- 
volver, these stains of blood upon the white hands. 
. . . and, maybe there are more stains like these 
here. 

But it was too late to change my mind. The 
machine had gone and Magnus, by the light, had 
not a blue, but a very black and beautiful beard 
and his eyes were smiling pleasantly. In his 
broad hand he carried not a weapon, but two 
bottles of wine, and from afar he shouted merrily : 

" On a night like this there is but one thing to 
do, to drink wine. Even Mars, when I spoke to 
him, looked drunk to me . . . the rogue! Your 
glass, Mr. Wondergood ! " 

But when the glasses had been filled, this merry 
drunkard hardly touched the wine and sitting 
deep in his chair asked me to drink and to talk. 
Without particular enthusiasm, listening to the 

108 



Satan's Diary 

noise of the wind and thinking about the length 
of the night before us, I told Magnus of the new 
and insistent visits of Cardinal X. It seemed to 
me that the Cardinal had actually put spies on 
my trail and what is more strange: he has man- 
aged to gain quite an influence over the unbrib- 
able Toppi. Toppi is still the same devoted 
friend of mine but he seems to have grown sad, 
goes to confessional every day and is trying to 
persuade me to accept Catholicism. 

Magnus listened calmly to my story and with 
still greater reluctance I told him of the many un- 
successful efforts to open my purse : of the endless 
petitions, badly written, in which the truth ap- 
pears to be falsehood because of the boresome 
monotony of tears, bows and naive flattery; of 
crazy inventors, of all sorts of people with hasty 
projects, gentlemen who seek .to utilize as quickly 
as possible their temporary absence from jail 
of all this hungry mass of humanity aroused by 
the smell of weakly protected billions. My secre- 
taries there are six of them now hardly man- 
age to handle all this mess of tears on paper, and 
the madly babbling fools who fill the doors of my 
palace. 

"I fear that I will have to build me an under- 
ground exit : they are watching me even at nights. 
They are aiming at me with picks and shovels, as 

109 



Satan's Diary 

if they were in the Klondike. The nonsense pub- 
lished by these accursed newspapers about the bil- 
lions I am ready to give away to every fool dis- 
playing a wound in his leg, or an empty pocket, 
has driven them out of their senses. I believe 
that some night they will divide me into portions 
and eat me. They are organizing regular pil- 
grimages to my palace and come with huge bags. 
My ladies, who regard me as their property, have 
found for me a little Dante Inferno, where we take 
daily walks in company with the society that 
storms my place. Yesterday we examined an old 
witch whose entire worth consists in the fact that 
she has outlived her husband, her children and 
her grandchildren, and is now in need of snuff. 
And some angry old man refused to be consoled 
and even would not take any money until all of us 
had smelled the old putrid wound in his foot. It 
was indeed a horrible odor. This cross old fel- 
low is the pride of my ladies, and like all favor- 
ites, he is capricious, and temperamental. And 
. . . are you tired of listening to me, Magnus. 
I could tell you of a whole flock of ragged fathers, 
hungry children, green and rotten like certain 
kinds of cheese, of noble geniuses who despise me 
like a negro, of clever drunkards with merry, red 
noses. . . . My ladies are not very keen on 
drunkards, but I love them better than any other 

110 



Satan's Diary 

kind of goods. And how do you feel about it, 
Signer Magnus?" 

Magnus was silent. I too was tired of talking. 
Mad Mars alone continued his antics : he was now 
ensconced upon the roof, trying to bite a hole in 
the center, and crushing the tiles as he would a 
lump of sugar. Magnus broke the silence: 

"The newspapers seem to have little to say 
about you recently. What is the matter ?" 

"I pay the interviewers not to write anything. 
At first I drove them away but they began inter- 
viewing my horses and now I pay them for their 
silence by the line. Have you a customer for my 
villa, Magnus? I shall sell it together with the 
artists and the rest of its paraphernalia." 

We again grew silent and paced up and down 
the room: Magnus rose first and then sat down. 
I followed and sat down too. In addition, I drank 
two more glasses of wine while Magnus drank 
none. . . . His nose is never red. Suddenly he 
said with determination : 

"Do not drink any more wine, Wondergood." 

' ' Oh, very well. I want no more wine. Is that 
all?" 

Magnus continued to question me at long in- 
tervals. His voice was sharp and stern, while 
mine was . . . melodious, I would say. 

Ill 



'Satan's Diary 

" There lias been a great change in you, Won- 
dergood." 

"Quite possible, thank you, Magnus." 

' l There used to be more life in you. Now you 
rarely jest. You have become very morose, 
Wondergood. " 

"Oh!" 

"You have even grown thin and your brow is 
sallow. Is it true that you get drunk every night 
in the company of your . . . friends?" 

"It seems so." 

"... that you play cards, squander your 
gold, and that recently some one had been nearly 
murdered at your table 1 ' ' 

"I fear that is true. I recollect that one gentle- 
man actually tried to pierce another gentleman 
with his fork. And how do you know all about 
that?" 

He replied sternly and significantly: 

"Toppi was here yesterday. He wanted to see 
. . . Maria but I myself received him. With all 
due respect to you, Wondergood, I must say that 
your secretary is unusually stupid." 

I acquiesced coldly. 

"You are quite right. You should have driven 
him out." 

I must say for my part, that my last two glasses 
of wine evaporated from me at the mention of 

112 



Satan's Diary 

Maria 9 s name, and our attempted conversation 
was marked by continued evaporation of the wine 
I drank, like perfume out of a bottle. I have 
always regarded wine as unreliable matter. We 
found ourselves again listening to the storm and I 
remarked : 

"The wind seems to be growing more violent, 
Signor Magnus." 

"Yes, the wind seems to be growing more 
violent, Mr. Wondergood. But you must admit 
that I warned you beforehand, Mr. Wondergood. ' ' 

1 ' Of what did you warn me beforehand, Signor 
Magnus?" 

He seized his knees with his white hands and 
directed upon me the gaze of a snake charmer. . . . 
Ah, he did not know that I myself had extracted 
my poisoned teeth and was quite harmless, like a 
mummy in a museum! Finally, he realized that 
there was no use beating about the bush, and came 
straight to the point: 

"I warned you in regard to Maria" he said 
slowly, with peculiar insinuation. "You remem- 
ber that I did not desire your acquaintance and 
expressed it plainly enough? You have not for- 
gotten what I told you about Maria, of her fatal 
influence upon the soul? But you were bold and 
insistent and I yielded. And now you ask us , 
me and my daughter to view the highly exhilar- 

113 



Satan's Diary 

ating spectacle of a gentleman in the process of 
disintegration, one who asks nothing, who re- 
proaches no one, but can find no solace until every 
one has smelled his wound ... I do not want to 
repeat your expression, Mr. Wondergood. It has 
a bad odor. Yes, sir, you have spoken quite 
frankly of your . . . neighbors and I am sincerely 
glad you have finally abandoned this cheap 
play at love and humanity. . . . You have so 
many other pastimes! I confess, however, that 
I am not at all overjoyed at your intention of pre- 
senting to usjfche sediment of a gentleman. It 
seems to me, sir, that you made a mistake in leav- 
ing America and your . . . canning business: 
dealing with people requires quite a different sort 
of ability." 

He laughed! He was almost driving Me out, 
this little man, and I, who write my "I" in a 
super-capital, I listened to him humbly and 
meekly. It was divinely ridiculous ! Here is an- 
other detail for those who love the ridiculous: 
before his tirade began my eyes and the cigar be- 
tween my teeth were quite bravely and noncha- 
lantly directed toward the ceiling, but they 
changed their attitude before he had finished. . . . 
To this very moment I feel the taste of that miser- 
able dangling, extinguished cigar. I was choking 
with laughter . . . that is I did not yet know 

114 



Satan's Diary 

whether to choke with laughter or with wrath. Or, 
without choking at all, to ask him for an umbrella 
and leave. Ah, he was at home, he was on his own 
ground, this angry, black bearded man. He knew 
how to manage himself in this situation and he 
sang a solo, not a duet, like the inseparable Satan 
of Eternity and Wondergood of Illinois ! 

* ' Sir ! ' ' I said with dignity : ' ' There seems to be 
a sad misunderstanding here. You see before you 
Satan in human form . . . you understand? He 
went out for an evening stroll and was lost in the 
forest ... in the forest, sir, in the forest! Won't 
you be good enough, sir, to direct him to the near- 
est road to Eternity? Ah, Ah! Thank you. So I 
thought myself. Farewell ! ' ' 

Of course, I really did not say that. I was silent 
and gave the floor to Wondergood. And this is 
what that respectable gentleman said, dropping 
his wet, dead cigar: 

"The devil take it! You are quite right, Mag- 
nus. Thank you, old man. Yes, you warned me 
quite honestly, but I preferred to play a lone 
hand. Now I am a bankrupt and at your mercy. 
I shall have no objection if you should order the 
removal of the sediment of the gentleman." 

I thought that without waiting for a stretcher, 
Magnus would simply throw the sediment out of 
the window, but his generosity proved quite sur- 

115 



Satan's Diary 

prising: lie looked at Me with, pity and even 
stretched out his hand. 

"You are suffering very much, Mr. Wonder- 
good V a question quite difficult to answer for 
the celebrated duet! I blinked and shrugged my 
shoulders. This appeared to satisfy Magnus and 
for a few moments we were both silent. I do not 
know of what Magnus was thinking. I thought 
of nothing : I simply examined with great interest, 
the walls, the ceiling, books, pictures all the fur- 
nishings of this human habitation. I was partic- 
ularly absorbed in the electric light upon which I 
fixed my attention: why does it burn and give 
light? 

"I am waiting for your answer, Mr. Wonder- 
good. " 

So he was really expecting me to reply? Very 
well. 

"It's very simple, Magnus . . . you warned me, 
I admit. To-morrow Toppi will pack my trunks 
and I shall go back to America to resume my . . . 
business. " 

"And the Cardinal!" 

"What Cardinal? Ah, yes! ... Cardinal X. 
and my billions. I remember. But don 't gaze at 
me in such astonishment, Magnus. I am sick of 
it." 

"What are you sick of, Mr. Wondergood?" 
116 



Satan's Diary 

"It. Six secretaries. Brainless old 
snuff, and my Dante Inferno, where they take me 
for my walks. Don't look at me so sternly, Mag- 
nus. Probably one could have made better wine 
out of my billions, but I managed to produce only 
sour beer. Why did you refuse to help me? Of 
course, you hate human beings, I forgot/' 

"But you love them?" 

"What shall I say, Magnus? No, I am rather 
indifferent to them. Don't look at me so ... pity- 
ingly. By God, it isn't worth it! Yes, I am indif- 
ferent to them. There are, there were and there 
will be so many of them that it isn't really worth 
while. ..." 

"So I am to conclude that you lied?' 9 

"Look not at me but at my packed trunks. No, 
I did not lie, not entirely. You know, I wanted 
to do something interesting for the sake of 
amusement and so I let loose this . . . this 
emotion. . . ." 

"So it was only play? ..." 

I blinked again and shrugged my shoulders. I 
like this method of reply to complex questions. 
And tliis face of Signor Thomas Magnus appealed 
to me, too; his long, oval face recompensed me 
slightly for my theatrical failures and . . . 
Maria. I must add that by this time there was a 
fresh cigar in my mouth. 

117 



Satan's Diary 

"You said that in your past there are some 
dark pages . . . What's the trouble, Mr. Wonder- 
good 1" 

' i Oh ! it was a slight exaggeration. Nothing in 
particular, Magnus. I beg your pardon for dis- 
turbing you needlessly, but at that time I thought 
I should have spoken thus for the sake of 
style . . ." 

"Style?" 

"Yes, and the laws of contrast. The present is 
always brighter with a dark past as a background 
. . . you understand? But I have already told 
you, Magnus, that my prank had little result. In 
the place I come from they have quite a mistaken 
conception of the pleasures of the game here. I 
shall have to disabuse them when I get back. For 
a moment I was taken in by the old monkey, but 
its method of fleecing people is rather ancient and 
too certain . . . like a counting house. I prefer 
an element of risk." 

"Fleecing people?" 

"Don't we despise them, Magnus! And if the 
game has failed, let us not at least deny ourselves 
the pleasure of speaking frankly. I am very glad. 
But I am tired of this prattle and, with your per- 
mission, I will take another glass of wine." 

There was not even the resemblance of a smile 
on Thomas Magnus* face. I mention the smile 

118 



Satan's Diary 

for the sake of ... style. We passed the next 
half hour in silence, broken only by the shrieks 
and yells of Mad Mars and the even pacing of 
Magnus. With his hands behind him and disre- 
garding me entirely he paced the room with even 
step: eight steps forward, eight steps backward. 
Apparently he must have been in jail at one time 
and for quite a while : for he had the knack of the 
experienced prisoner of creating distances out of 
a few meters. I permitted myself to yawn slightly 
and thus drew the attention of my host back to 
myself. But Magnus kept quiet for another mo- 
ment, until the following words rang out through 
the air and well nigh hurled me out of my seat : 

"But Maria loves you. Of course, you do not 
know that!" 

I arose. 

"Yes, that is the truth: Maria loves you. I did 
not expect this misfortune. I failed to kill you, 
Mr. Wondergood. I should have done that at the 
very beginning and now I do not know what to do 
with you. What do you think about it!" 

I stretched and . 



. . . Maria loves Me! 

I once witnessed in Philadelphia an unsuccess- 
ful electrocution of a prisoner. I saw at "La 
Scala" in Milan my colleague Mephisto cringing 

119 



Satan's Diary 

and hopping all over the stage when the supers 
moved upon him with their crosses and my 
silent reply to Magnus was an artistic im- 
provisation of both the first and the second trick: 
ah, at that moment I could think of nothing better 
to imitate,! I swear by eternal salvation that 
never before had I been permeated by so many 
deadly currents, never did I drink such bitter 
wine, never was my soul seized with such uncon- 
trollable laughter! 

Now I no longer laugh or cringe, like a cheap 
actor. I am alone and only my own seriousness 
can hear and see Me. But in that moment of tri- 
umph I needed all my strength to control my 
laughter so that I might not deal ringing blows to 
the face of this stern and honest man hurling the 
Madonna into the embraces of ... the Devil. Do 
you really think so? No? Or are you merely 
thinking of Wondergood, the American, with his 
goatee and wet cigar between his gold teeth ! Ha- 
tred and contempt, love and anguish, wrath and 
laughter, these filled to the brim the cup pre- 
sented to Me . . . no, still worse, still more bitter, 
still more deadly! What do I care about the de- 
ceived Magnus or the stupidity of his eyes and 
brain? But how could the pure eyes of Maria 
have been deceived? 

Or am I really such a clever Don Juan that I 
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Satan's Diary 

can turn the head of an innocent and trusting girl 
by a few simple, silent meetings? Madonna, 
where art Thou? Or, has she discovered a re- 
semblance between myself and one of her saints, 
like Toppi's. But I do not carry with me a trav- 
eling prayer book! Madonna, where art Thou? 
Are thy lips stretching out to mine? Madonna, 
where art Thou? Or? ... 

And yet I cringed like an actor. I sought to 
stifle in respectful mumbling my hatred and my 
contempt when this new "or" suddenly filled me 
with new confusion and such love . . . ah, such 
love! 

"Or 9 " thought I, "has Thy immortality, Ma- 
donna, echoed the immortality of Satan and is it 
now stretching forth this gentle hand to it from 
the realms of Eternity? Thou, who art divine, 
hast thou recognized a friend in him who has be- 
come human? Thou, who art above, dost thou 
pity him who is below? Oh, Madonna, lay thy 
hand upon my dark head that I may recognize 
thee by thy touch! . . . 

But hear what further transpired that night. 



"I know not why Maria has fallen in love with 
you. That is a secret of her soul, too much for my 
understanding. No, I do not know, but I bow 
to her will as to her frankness. What are my 

121 



Satan's Diary 

human eyes before her all-penetrating gaze, Mr. 
Wondergood! . . . " 

(The latter, too, was saying the same thing.) 

"A moment ago, in a fit of excitement, " con- 
tinued Magnus, "I said something about murder 
and death. . . . No, Mr. Wondergood, you may 
rest secure forever: the chosen one of Maria en- 
joys complete immunity as far as I am concerned. 
He is protected by more than the law her pure 
love is his armor. Of course, I shall have to ask 
you to leave us at once. And I believe in your 
honest intention, Wondergood, to place the ocean 
between us. . . ." 

"But ..." 

Magnus moved forward towards me and shouted 
angrily : 

1 ' Not another word ! . . . I cannot kill you but 
if you dare to mention the word * marriage,' 
I! . . ." 

He slowly dropped his uplifted hand, and con- 
tinued calmly : 

"I see that I will have to beg your pardon again 
for my fit of passion, but it is better than false- 
hood, examples of which we have had from you. 
Do not defend yourself, Wondergood. It is quite 
unnecessary. And of marriage let me speak: it 
will ring less insulting to Maria than it would 
from your lips. It is quite unthinkable. Bemem- 

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Satan's Diary 

her that. I am a sober realist : I see nothing but 
mere coincidence in that fatal resemblance of 
Maria and I am not at all taken aback by the 
thought that my daughter, with all her unusual 
qualities, may some day become a wife and 
mother. . . . My categorical opposition to this 
marriage was simply another means of warning 
you. Yes, I am accustomed to look soberly upon 
things, Mr. Wondergood. It is not you who is 
destined to be Maria's life partner! You do not 
know me at all and now I am compelled to raise 
slightly the curtain behind which I am hiding 
these many years : my idleness is merely rest. I 
am not at all a peaceful villager or a book philoso- 
pher. I am a man of struggle. I am a warrior on 
the battlefield of life ! And my Maria will be the 
gift only of a hero, if if I should ever find a 
hero." " 

I said : 

" You may rest assured, Signor Magnus, that I 
will not permit myself to utter a single word in 
regard to Signorina Maria. You know that I am 
not a hero. But I should think it permissible to 
ask of you : how am I to reconcile your present re- 
marks with your former contempt for man? I 
recollect that you spoke seriously of gallows and 
prisons." 

Magnus laughed loudly : 
123 



Satan's Diary 

"And do you remember what you said about 
your love for man! Ah, my dear Wondergood: I 
would be a bad warrior and politician if my edu- 
cation did not embrace the art of lying a little. 
We were both playing, that's all!" 

"You played better, " I admitted quite gloomily. 

"And you played very badly, my friend, do 
not be offended. But what am I to do when there 
suddenly appears before me a gentleman all loaded 
with gold like . . . " 

"Like an ass. Continue. " 

"And begins to reveal to me his love for hu- 
manity, while his confidence in his success is equal 
only to the quantity of the dollars in his pocket? 
The main fault of your play, Mr. Wondergood, is 
that you are too eager for success and seek im- 
mediate results. This makes the spectator cold 
and less credulous. To be sure, I really did not 
think you were merely acting the worst play is 
better than sincere assininity and I must again 
crave your pardon : you seemed to me just one of 
those foolish Yankees who really take their own 
bombastic and contemptible tirades seriously and 
. . . you understand ?" 

"Quite fully. I beg you to continue." 

"Only one phrase of yours, something aboi 
war and revolution purchasable with your billions 
seemed to me to possess a modicum of interest, 

124 



Satan's Diary 

but the rest of the drivel proved that that, too, 
was a mere slip of the tongue, an accidental ex- 
cerpt of some one else's text. Your newspaper 
triumphs, your flippancy in serious matters re- 
member Cardinal X! your cheap philanthropy 
are of a quite different tone . . . No, Mr. Won- 
dergood, you are not fit for serious drama ! And 
your prattling to-day, despite its cynicism, made 
a better impression than your flamboyant circus 
pathos. I say frankly: were it not for Maria I 
would gladly have had a good laugh at your ex- 
pense, and, without the slightest compunction 
would have raised the farewell cup ! ' ' 

"Just one correction, Magnus: I earnestly de- 
sired that you should take part . . . " 

"In what? In your play? Yes, your play 
lacked the creative factor and you earnestly de- 
sired to saddle me with your poverty of spirit. 
Just as you hire your artists to paint and decorate 
your palaces so you wanted to hire my will and 
my imagination, my power and my love!" 

"But your hatred for man . . . " 

Up to this point Magnus had maintained his 
tone of irony and subtle ridicule : my remark, how- 
ever, seemed to change him entirely. He grew 
pale, his white hands moved convulsively over his 
body as if they were searching for a weapon, and 
his face became threatening and even horrible. 

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Satan's Diary 

As if fearing the power of his own voice, he low- 
ered it almost to a whisper; as if fearing that his 
words would break their leash and run off at a 
wild pace, he tried desperately to hold them in 
check and in order. 

"Hatred! Be silent, sir. Or have you no con- 
science at all or any common sense? My con- 
tempt ! My hatred ! They were my reply, not to 
your theatrical lov e, but to your sincere and dead 
indifference. You were insulting me as a human 
being by your indifference: You were insulting 
life by your indifference. It *was in your voice, 
it gleamed savagely out of your eyes, and more 
than once was I seized by terror . . . terror, sir ! 
when I pierced deeper the mysterious empti- 
ness of your pupils. If your past has no dark 
pages, which, as you say, you merely added for 
the sake of style, then there is something worse 
than that in it : there are white pages in it. And 
I cannot read them! ..." 

"Oh, oh!" 

"When I look at your eternal cigar, and see 
your self-satisfied but handsome and energetic 
face; when I view' your unassuming manner, in 
which the simplicity of the grog shop is elevated 
to the heights of Puritanism, I fully understand 
your naive game. But I need only meet the pupil 
of your eye ... or its white rim and I am im- 

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Satan's Diary 

mediately hurled into a void, I am seized with 
alarm and I no longer see either your cigar or 
your gold teeth and I am ready to exclaim: who 
are you that you dare to bear yourself with such 
indifference?" 

The situation waa becoming interesting. 
Madomia loves Me and this creature is about 
ready to utter my Name at any moment! Is he 
the son of my Father? How could he unravel the 
great mystery of my boundless indifference: I 
tried so carefuly to conceal it, even from you ! 

"Here! here!" shouted Magnus, in great ex- 
citement, "again there are two little tears in your 
eyes, as I have noticed before. They are a lie, 
Wondergood ! There is no source of tears behind 
them. They have fallen from somewhere above, 
from the clouds, like dew. Bather laugh: behind 
your laughter I see merely a bad man, but behind 
your tears there are white pages, white pages! 
. . . or has Maria read them?" 

Without taking his eyes off me, as if fearing 
that I might run away, Magnus paced the room, 
finally seating himself opposite Me. His face 
grew dim and his voice seemed tired, when he 
said: 

"But it seems to me that I am exciting myself 
in vain. ..." 

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Satan's Diary 

"Do not forget, Magnus, that to-day I myself 
spoke to you of indifference. " 

He waved his hand wearily and carelessly. 

"Yes, you did speak. But there is something 
else involved here, Wondergood. There is noth- 
ing insulting in the indifference, but in the other 
... I sensed it immediately upon your appear- 
ance with your billions. I do not know whether 
you will understand what I mean, but I immedi- 
ately felt like shouting of hatred and to demand 
gallows and blood. The gallows is a gloomy thing 
but the curious jostling about the gallows, Mr. 
Wondergood, are quite unbearable! I do not 
know what they think of our game here in the 
'place' you come from, but we pay for it with our 
lives, and when there suddenly appears before us 
some curious gentleman in a top hat, cigar in 
mouth, one feels, you understand, like seizing him 
by the back of his neck and ... he never 
stays to the end of the performance, anyway. 
Have you, too, Mr. Wondergood, dropped in on us 
for a brief visit ?" 

With what a long sigh I uttered the name of 
Maria! . . . And I no longer played, I no longer 
lied, when I replied to this gloomy man : 

"Yes, I have dropped in on you for a brief visit, 
Signor Magnus. You have guessed right. For 
certain very valid reasons I can reveal nothing to 

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Satan's Diary 

you of the white pages of my life, the existence 
of which behind my leather binding you have like- 
wise guessed. But on one of them was written: 
death-departure. That was not a top hat in the 
hands of the curious visitor, but a revolver . . . 
you understand : I look on as long as it is interest- 
ing and after that I make my bow and depart. 
Let me put it clearer and simpler, out of defer- 
ence to your realism: in a few days, perhaps to- 
morrow, I depart for the other world. . . . No, 
that is not clear enough : in a few days or to-mor- 
row I shall shoot myself, kill myself with a re- 
volver. I at first planned to aim at my heart but 
have decided that the brain would be more reli- 
able. I have planned all this long ago, at the very 
beginning ... of my appearance before you, and 
was it not in this readiness of mine to depart that 
you have detected 'inhuman' indifference? Isn't 
it true that when one eye is directed upon the 
other world, it is hardly possible to maintain any 
particularly bright flame in the eye directed upon 
this world? ... I refer to the kind of flame I see 
in your eyes. 0! you have wonderful eyes, Sig- 
nor Magnus.' 

Magnus remained silent for a few moments and 
then said: 

1 ' And Maria ?" 

"Permit me to reply. I prize Signorina Maria 
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Satan's Diary 

too highly not to regard her love for me as a 
fatal mistake. 5 ' 

"But you wanted that love?" 

"It is very difficult for me to answer that ques- 
tion. At first, perhaps when I indulged in 
dreams for a while but the more I perceived this 
fatal resemblance . . . ' 

"That is mere resemblance," Magnus hastened 
to assure me : "But you mustn't be a child, Won- 
dergood! Maria's soul is lofty and beautiful, but 
she is human, made of flesh and bone. She prob- 
ably has her own little sins, too. ..." 

"And how about my top hat, Magnus? 
about my free departure! I need only buy a seal 
to gaze upon Maria and her fatal resemblance- 
admitting that it is only resemblance! but how 
must I pay for love?" 

Magnus said sternly: 

"Only with your life." 

"You see: only with my life! How, then, did 
you expect me to desire such love?" 

"But you have miscalculated: she already loves 
you." 

"Oh, if the Signorina Maria really loves me 
then my death can be no obstacle : however, I do 
not make myself clear. I wanted to say that my 
departure ... no, I had better say nothing. In 

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Satan's Diary 

short, Signer Magnus: would you agree to have 
me place my billions at your disposal now?" 

He looked at me quickly : 

"Now?" 

"Yes, now, when we are no longer playing: I 
at love and you at hatred. Now, when I am about 
to disappear entirely, taking with me the i sedi- 
ment ' of a gentlemen? Let me make it quite 
clear: would you like to be my heir?" 

Magnus frowned and looked at me in anger: 
apparently he took my words for ridicule. But I 
was calm and serious. It seemed to me that his 
large, white hands were trembling slightly. He 
turned away for a moment and then, whirling 
about quickly, he shouted loudly: 

" No ! Again you want . . . No ! " 

He stamped Jiis foot and cried once jmore: 
"No!" His hands were trembling. His breath- 
ing was heavy and irregular. There followed a 
long silence, the wailing of the tempest, the whis- 
tling and murmur of the wind. And again, great 
calm, great, dead, all embracing peace descended 
upon me. Everything was turned within Me. I 
still could hear the earthly demons of the storm, 
but their voices sounded far away and dull. I 
saw before me a man and he was strange and cold 
to me, like a stone statue. One after another there 
floated by me all the days of my human exist- 

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Satan's Diary 

ence. There was the gleam of faces, the weak 
sound of voices and curious laughter. And then, 
again all was silent. I turned my gaze to the other 
side and there I was met by dumbness. It was 
as if I were immured between two dumb, stone 
walls : behind one was their human life, which I 
had abandoned, and behind the other, in silence 
and in darkness, stretched forth the world of eter- 
nal and real being. Its silence was resounding, 
its darkness was gleaming, eternal, joyous life 
beat constantly like breakers, upon the hard rocks 
of the impenetrable wall. But deaf was my con- 
sciousness and silent my thought. From beneath 
the weak legs of Thought there came Memory 
and it hung suspended in the void, immovable, 
paralyzed for the moment. What did I leave be- 
hind the wall of my Unconsciousness? 

Thought made no reply. It was motionless, 
empty and silent. Two silences surrounded Me, 
two darknesses enveloped me. Two walls were 
burying me, and behind one, in the pale move- 
ment of shadows, passed their human life, while 
behind the other, in silence and in darkness 
stretched forth the world of my real, eternal being. 
Whence shall I hear The Call? Whither can I 
take a step? 

And at that moment I suddenly heard the voice 
of a man, strange and distant. It grew closer and 

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Satan's Diary 

closer, there was a gentle ring in it. It was Mag- 
nus speaking. With great effort and concentra- 
tion, I tried to catch the words and this was what 
I heard : 

"And wouldn't you rather continue living, 
Wondergood?" 

March 18. 
Eome, Palazzo Orsini. 

It is three days now that Magnus and Maria 
are living in my palazzo in Eome. It is empty 
and silent and really seems huge. Last night, 
worn by insomnia, I wandered about its halls and 
stairways, over rooms I had never seen before 
and their number astonished me. Maria's soul 
has expelled from it all that was frivolous and im- 
pure and only the saintly Toppi moves through 
its emptiness, like the pendulum of a church clock. 
Ah, how saintly he looks. If not for his broad 
back, the broad folds of his coat, and the odor of 
fur in his head, I myself would take him for one 
of the saints who have honored me with their 
acquaintance. 

I rarely see my guests. I am turning my entire 
estate into cash and Magnus and Toppi and all 
the secretaries are busy with this work from 
morning to night; our telegraph is constantly 
buzzing. Magnus has little to say to me. He only 

133 



Satan's Diary 

talks business. Maria ... it seems as if I were 
avoiding her. I can see her through my window 
walking in the garden, and this is quite enough for 
me, for her soul is here and every atom of the 
air is filled with her breath. And, as I have al- 
ready remarked, I suffer with insomnia. 

As you see, my friend, I have remained among 
the living, a dead hand could not possibly write 
even the dead words I am not setting down. Let 
us forget the past, as sweethearts would who have 
just settled their differences. Let us be friends, 
you and I. Give me your hand, my friend ! I vow 
by eternal salvation that never again will I chase 
you hence or laugh at you : if I have lost the wis- 
dom of the snake I have acquired the gentleness 
of the dove. I am rather sorry that I have driven 
away my painters and my interviewers: I have 
no one to inquire whom I resemble with my radi- 
ant countenance? I personally feel that I re- 
mind one of a powdered darkey, who is afraid to 
rub the powder off with his sleeve and thus reveal 
his black skin . . . ah, I still have a black skin! 

Yes, I have remained alive but I know not yet 
how far I shall succeed in keeping up this state : 
have you any idea how hard are the transitions 
from a nomad to a settled life? I was a redskin, 
a carefree nomad, who folds up and casts off all 
that is human, as he would a tent. Now I am lay- 

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\ 

Satan's Diary 

ing a granite foundation for an earthly home and 
I, having little faith, am cold and trembling. Will 
it be warm when the white snow covers my new 
home? What do you think, my friend, is the best 
heating system? 

I promised Thomas Magnus that night that I 
would not kill myself. We sealed this agreement 
with a warm handshake. We did not open our 
veins nor seal the pact with our blood. We simply 
said "yes" and that was quite sufficient: as you 
know only human beings break agreements. 
Devils always keep them. . . . You need only re- 
call your horny, hairy heroes and their Spartan 
honesty. Fortunately (let us call it ' fortunate') 
we had set no ... date. I swear by eternal salva- 
tion, I would be a poor king and ruler if, when 
building a palace, I did not leave for myself a 
secret exit, a little door, a modest loophole 
through which wise kings disappear when their 
foolish subjects rise and break into Versailles. 

I will not kill myself to-morrow. Perhaps I 
shall wait quite a while. I will not kill myself: 
of the two walls I have chosen the lower one and 
I am quite human now, even as you my friend. 
My earthly experiment is not very thrilling as 
yet, but who knows? this human life may unex- 
pectedly grow quite attractive! Has not Toppi 
lived to grow gray and to a peaceful end? Why 

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Satan's Diary 

should not I, traversing all the ages of man, like 
the seasons of the year, grow to be a gray old 
sage, a wise guide and teacher, the bearer of the 
covenant and arterio sclerosis'? Ah, this ridic- 
ulous sclerosis, these ills of old age it is only 
now that they begin to seem terrible to Me, but, 
can I not get used to them and even grow to love 
them? Every one says it is easy to get used to 
life. Well, I, too, will try to get used to it. Every- 
thing here is so well ordered that after rain comes 
sunshine and dries him who is wet, if he has not 
been in too great a hurry to die. Everything here 
is so well ordered that there is not a single dis- 
ease for which there is no cure. This is so good ! 
One may be ill all the time, provided there is a 
drug store nearby! 

At any rate, I have my little door, my secret 
exit, my narrow, wet, dark corridor, beyond which 
are the stars and all the breadth of my illimitable 
space ! My friend, I want to be frank with you : 
there is a certain characteristic of insubordina- 
tion in me, and it is that I fear. What is a cough 
or a catarrh of the stomach? But it is possible 
that I may suddenly refuse to cough, for no rea- 
son at all, or for some trivial cause, and run off! 
I like you at this moment. I am quite ready to 
conclude a long and fast alliance with you, but 
something may suddenly gleam across your dear 

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Satan's Diary 

face which. ... no, it is quite impossible to do 
without a little secret door for Mm who is so 
capricious and insubordinate! Unfortunately, I 
am proud, too, an old and well known vice of 
Satan ! Like a fish struck in the head, I am dazed 
by my human existence. A fatal unconsciousness 
is driving me into your life, but of one thing I am 
quite certain : I am of the race of the free. I am 
of the tribe of the rulers. I come from those who 
transform their will into laws. Conquered kings 
are taken into captivity but conquered kings never 
become slaves. And when I shall perceive, above 
my head, the whip of a dirty guard and my fet- 
tered hands are helpless to avert the blow . . . 
well: shall I remain living with welts upon my 
back? Shall I bargain with my judges about an- 
other blow of the whip ? Shall I kiss the hand of 
the executioner? Or shall I send to the druggist 
for an eye lotion? 

No, let not Magnus misjudge me for a little 
slip in our agreement : I will live only as long as I 
want to live. All the blessings of the human exist- 
ence, which he offered me on that night, when 
Satan was tempted by man, will not strike the 
weapon from my hand: in it alone is the assur- 
ance of my liberty! Oh, man, what are all your 
kingdoms and dukedoms, your knowledge and 
your nobility, your gold and your freedom be- 

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Satan's Diary 

side this little, free movement of the finger which, 
in a moment carries you up to the Throne of 
Thrones! . . . 

Maria! 

Yes, I am afraid of her. The look in her eye 
is so clear and commanding, the light of her love 
is so mighty, enchanting and beautiful that I am 
all atremble and everything in me is quivering 
and urging me to immediate flight. With hitherto 
unknown happiness, with veiled promises, with 
singing dreams she tempts Me! Shall I cry: 
Away! or shall I bend mine to her will and fol- 
low her! 

Where? I do not know. Or are there other 
worlds beside those I know or have forgotten? 
Whence comes this motionless light behind my 
back! It is growing ever broader and brighter. 
Its warm touch heats my soul, so that its Polar 
ice crumbles and melts. But I am afraid to look 
back. I may see Sodom on fire and if I look I 
may turn into stone. Or is it a new Sun, which I 
have not yet seen upon this earth that is rising 
behind my back, and I, like a fool, am fleeing from 
it and baring my back instead of my breast to it, 
the low, dumb neck of a frightened animal, in- 
stead of my lofty brow? 

Maria! Will you give me my revolver? I paid 
ten dollars for it, together with the holster. To 

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Satan's Diary 

you I will not give it for a kingdom! Only do not 
look at Me, oh, Queen . . . otherwise, otherwise 
I will give you everything : the revolver and the 
holster and Satan himself! 

March 26. 
Eome, Palazzo Orsini. 

It is the fifth night that I do not sleep. When 
the last light is turned out in my silent palazzo, 
I quietly descend the stairs, quietly order a ma- 
chine somehow or other even the noise of my 
own steps and voice disturb me, and I go for the 
night into the Campagna. There, leaving the au- 
tomobile on the road, I wander about until day- 
break or sit immovable upon some dark ruins. I 
cannot be seen at all and the rare passersby, per- 
haps some peasants from Albano, converse quite 
loudly and without restraint. I like to remain 
unseen. It reminds me of something I have for- 
gotten. 

Once, as I sat down on a stone, I disturbed a 
lizzard. It may have been that it lightly moved 
the grass beneath my feet and disappeared. Per- 
haps it was a snake? I do not know. But I 
wanted desperately to become a lizzard or a snake, 
concealed beneath a stone: I am troubled by my 
large stature, by the size of my feet and arms: 
They make it very difficult to become invisible. I 

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Satan's Diary 

likewise refrain from looking at my face in the 
mirror : it is painful to think I have a face, which 
all can see. Why did I fear darkness so much at 
the beginning? It is so easy to conceal oneself 
in it. Apparently all animals experience such 
subtle shame, fear and worriment and seek seclu- 
sion when they are changing their skin or hide. 

So, I am changing my skin? Ah, it is the same, 
worthless prattle! The whole trouble is that I 
have failed to escape Maria's gaze and am, ap- 
parently preparing to close the last door, the 
door I guarded so well. But I am ashamed! I 
swear by eternal salvation, I feel ashamed, like a 
girl before the altar. I am almost blushing. 
Blushing Satan . . . no, quiet, quiet: lie is not 
here! Quiet! . . . 

Magnus told her everything. She did not reit- 
erate that she loves Me but looked at me and said: 

"Promise me, you will not kill yourself. " 

The rest was in her gaze. You remember how 
bright it is? But do not think that I hastily 
agreed. Like a salamander in the fire, I quickly 
changed colors. I shall not repeat to you all the 
flaming phrases I uttered : I have forgotten them. 
But you remember how bright and serene Maria's 
gaze is 1 I kissed her hand and said humbly : 

* ' Madam ! I do not ask you for forty days and 
a desert for contemplation : the desert I will find 

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Satan's Diary 

myself and a week is quite enough for me to think 
the matter over. But do give me a week and . . . 
please, don't look at me any more . . . other- 
wise . . . 

No, that wasn't what I said. I said it in other 
words, but it's all the same. I am now changing 
my skin. It hurts me. I am frightened and 
ashamed because any crow might see me and come 
to pick my flesh. What use is there in the fact 
that there is a revolver in my pocket? It is only 
when you learn to hit yourself that you can hit 
a crow : crows know that and consequently do not 
fear tragically bulging pockets. 

Having become human and descended from 
above I have become but half a man. I entered 
upon this human existence as if into a strange 
element, but I have not lost myself in it entirely : 
I still cling with one hand to my Heaven and my 
eyes are still above the surface. But she com- 
mands me to accept man in his entirety : only he 
is a man who has said: never shall I kill myself, 
never shall I leave life of my own free will. And 
what about the whip ? These cursed cuts upon my 
back? Pride? 

Oh, Maria, Maria, how terribly you tempt Me ! 

I look into the past of this earth and serious 
myriads of tragic shadows floating slowly over 
climes and ages! Their hands stretch hopelessly 

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Satan's Diary 

into space, their bony ribs tear through the lean, 
thin skin, their eyes are filled with tears, and their 
sighs have dried up their throats. I see blood and 
madness, violence and falsehood, I hear their 
oaths, which they constantly betray, their prayers 
to God, in which, with every word of mercy and 
forgiveness, they curse their own earth. Wher- 
ever I look, I see the earth smoking in convulsion ; 
no matter in which direction I strain my ear, I 
hear everywhere unceasing moans: or is the 
womb of the earth itself filled with moaning! I 
see a myriad cups about me, but no matter which 
of them my lips may touch, I find it filled with 
rust and vinegar: or has man no other drink? 
And this is man? 

I knew them before. I have seen them before. 
But I looked upon them as Augustus did from his 
box upon the galaxy of his victims: Ave, Caesar! 
These who are about to die salute you. And I 
looked upon them with the eyes of an eagle and 
my wise, belaureled head did not disdain to take 
notice of their groaning cries even with so much 
as a nod: they came and disappeared, they 
marched on in endless procession and endless 
was the indifference of my Caesar-like gaze. And 
now ... is it really I who walks on so hastily, 
playing with the sand of the arena? And am I 
this dirty, emaciated, hungry slave who lifts his 

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Satan's Diary 

convict face into the air, yelling hoarsely into the 
indifferent eyes of Fate : 

* * Ave, Caesar ! Ave, Caesar I " . 

I feel a sharp whip upon my back and with a 
cry of pain I fall to the ground. Is it some Master 
who is beating me? No, it is another slave, who 
has been ordered to whip a slavey very soon his 
knout will be in my hand and his back will be cov- 
ered with blood and he will be chewing the sand, 
the sand which now grates between my teeth. 

Oh, Maria, Maria, how terribly you tempt Me ! 



143 



in 



March 29 
Eome. 

BUY the blackest paint available, take the 
largest brash you can find and, with a 
broad line, divide my life into Yesterday 
and To-day. Take the staff of Moses and divide 
the stream of Time and dry it up clear down to 
its bed then only will you sense my To-day. 

Ave, Casar, moriturus te salutat! 

April 2, Eome. 
Pallazzo Orsini. 

I do not want to lie. There is not yet in me, 
oh man, any love for you, and if you have has- 
tened to open your arms to me, please close 
them: the time has not yet come for passion- 
ate embraces. Later, at some other date, we shall 
embrace, but meanwhile, let us be cold and re- 
strained, like two gentlemen in misfortune. I can- 
not say that my respect for you has grown to any 
extent, although your life and your fate have be- 



Satan's Diary 

come my life and my fate : let the facts suffice that 
I have voluntarily placed my neck beneath the 
yoke and that one and the same whip are fur- 
rowing our backs. 

Yes, that is quite sufficient for the present. You 
have observed that I no longer use a super-capital 
in writing the word "I"? I have thrown it out 
together with the revolver. This is a sign of sub- 
mission and equality. You understand? Like a 
king, I have taken the oath of allegiance to your 
constitution. But I shall not, like a king, betray 
this vow : I have preserved from my former life a 
respect for contracts. I swear J will be true to 
your comrades-at-hard-labor and will not make 
any attempt to escape alone ! 

For the last few nights, before I took this de- 
cision, I thought much upon our life. It is 
wretched. Don't you think so? It is difficult and 
humiliating to be this little thing called man, the 
cunning and avaricious little worm that crawls, 
hastily multiplies itself and lies, turning away its 
head from the final blow the worm that no mat- 
ter how much it lies, will perish just the same at 
the appointed hour. But I will be a worm. Let 
me, too, beget children, let the unthinking foot 
also crush my unthinking head at the appointed 
hour I meekly accept all consequences. We are 
both of us humiliated, comrade, and in this alone 

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Satan's Diary 

there is some consolation: you will listen to my 
complaints and I to yours. And if the matter 
should ultimately reach the state of litigation, 
why the witnesses will all be ready ! That is well : 
When one kills in the public square there are al- 
ways eyewitnesses. 

I will lie, if necessary. I will not lie in that free 
play of lying with which even prophets lie, but 
in that enforced manner of lying employed by the 
rabbit, which compels him to hide his ears, to be 
gray in summer and white in winter. What can 
one do when behind every tree a hunter with a 
rifle is concealed! This lying may appear to be 
ignoble from one point of view and may well call 
forth condemnation upon us, but you and I must 
live, my friend. Let bystanders accuse us to 
their heart's content, but, when necessary, we will 
lie like wolves, too ! we will spring forward, sud- 
denly, and seize the enemy by the throat : one must 
live, brother, one must live, and are we to be held 
responsible for the fact that there is such great 
lure and such fine taste in blood! In reality 
neither you nor I are proud of our lying, of our 
cowardice or of our cruelty, and our bloodthirsti- 
ness is certainly not a matter of conviction. 

But however hideous our life may be, it is still 
more miserable. Do you agree with that? I do 
not love you yet, oh man, but on these nights I 

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have been more than once on the verge of tears 
when I thought of your suffering, of your tor- 
tured body, and of your soul, relinquished to eter- 
nal crucifixion. It is well for a wolf to be a wolf. 
It is well for a rabbit to be a rabbit. But you, 
man, contain both God and Satan and, oh, how 
terrible is the imprisonment of both in that nar- 
row and dark cell of yours! Can God be a wolf, 
tearing throats and drinking blood! Can Satan 
be a rabbit, hiding his ears behind his humped 
back! No, that is intolerable. I agree with you. 
That fills life with eternal confusion and pain and 
the sorrow of the soul becomes boundless. 

Think of it: of three children that you beget, 
one becomes a murderer, the other the victim and 
the third, the judge and executioner. And each 
day the murderers are murdered and still they 
continue to be born ; and each day the murderers 
kill conscience and conscience kills the murderers. 
And all are alive: the murderers and conscience. 
Oh, what a fog we live in! Give heed to all the 
words spoken by man from the day of his birth 
and you will think: this is God! Look at all the 
deeds of man from his very first day and you will 
exclaim in disgust: this is a beast! Thus does 
man struggle with himself for thousands of years 
and the sorrow of his soul is boundless and the 
suffering of his mind is terrible and horrible, 

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while the final judge is slow about his coming. . . . 
But he will never come. I say this to you : we are 
forever alone with our life. 

But I accept this, too. Not yet has the earth 
endowed me with my name and I know not who I 
am: Cain or Abel? But I accept the sacrifice as 
I do murder. I am everywhere with you and ev- 
erywhere I follow you, Man. Let us weep to- 
gether in the desert, knowing that no one will 
give heed to us ... or perhaps some one will? 
You see : you and I are beginning to have faith in 
some one's Ear and soon I will begin to believe 
in a triangular Eye ... it is really impossible 
that such a concert should have no hearer, that 
such a spectacle should be wasted on the desert 
air! 

I think of the fact that no one has yet beaten me, 
and I am afraid. What will become of my soul 
when some one's grubby hand strikes me on the 
face. . . . What will become of me ! For I know 
that no earthly revenge could return my face to 
me. And what will then become of my soul? 

I swear I will become reconciled even to this. 
Everywhere with you and after you, man. What 
is my face when you struck the face of your own 
Christ and spat into his eyes? Everywhere with 
you! And if necessary, I myself will strike at 
Christ with the hand with which I now write: I 

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go with you to all ends, man. They beat us and 
they will continue to beat us. We beat Christ and 
will still beat him. . . . Ah, bitter is our life, al- 
most unbearable ! 

Only a while ago, I rejected your embraces. I 
said they were premature. But now I say : let us 
embrace more firmly, brother, let us cling closely 
to each other it is so painful, so terrible to be 
alone in this life when all exits from it are closed. 
And I know not yet wherein there is more pride 
and liberty : in going away voluntarily, whenever 
one wishes, or in accepting, without resistance, the 
hand of the executioner? In calmly placing 
one's hands upon his breast, putting one foot for- 
ward and, with head proudly bent backward, to 
wait calmly: 

"Do thy duty, executioner!" 

Or: 

"Soldiers, here's my breast: fire!" 

There is something plastic in this pose and it 
pleases me. But still more am I pleased with the 
fact that once again my greater Ego is rising with- 
in me at the striking of this pose. Of course, the 
executioner will not fail to do his duty and the 
soldiers will not lower their rifles, but the import- 
ant thing is the line, the moment, when before 
my very death itself I shall suddenly find my- 
self immortal and broader than life itself. It is 

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strange, but with one turn of the head, with one 
phrase, expressed or conceived at the proper mo- 
ment, I could, so to speak, halt the function of 
my very spirit and the entire operation would be 
performed outside of me. And when death shall 
have finally performed its role of redeemer, its 
darkness would not eclipse the light, for the latter 
will have first separated itself from me and scat- 
tered into space, in order to reassemble some- 
where and blaze forth again . . . but where? 

Strange, strange. ... I sought to escape from 
men and found myself at that wall of Uncon- 
sciousness known only to Satan ! How important, 
indeed, is the pose! I must make note of that. 
But will the pose be as convincing and will it not 
lose in plasticity if instead of death, the execu- 
tioner and the firing squad I should be compelled 
to say something else . . . well, something like : 

"Here's my face: strike!'/ 

I do not know why I am so concerned about my 
face, but it does concern me greatly. I confess, 
man, that it worries me very much indeed. No, a 
mere trifle. I will simply subdue my spirit. Let 
them beat me! When the spirit is crushed the 
operation is no more painful or humiliating than 
it would be if I were to beat my overcoat on its 
hanger. . . . 

. . . But I have forgotten that I am not alone 
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and being in your company have fallen into im- 
polite meditation. For a half hour I have been 
silent over this sheet of paper and it seemed all 
the time as if I had been talking and quite excit- 
edly! I forgot that it is not enough to think, that 
one must also speak! What a shame it is, man, 
that for the exchange of thoughts we must resort 
to the service of such a poor and stealthy broker 
as the word he steals all that is precious and de- 
files the best thoughts with the chatter of the mar- 
ket place. In truth, this pains me much more than 
death or the beating. 

I am terrified by the necessity of silence when I 
come upon the extraordwiary, which his inexpres- 
sible. Like a rivulet I run and advance only as 
far as the ocean : in the depths of the latter is the 
end of my murmuring. Within me, however, mo- 
tionless and omnipresent, rocking to and fro, is 
the ocean. It only hurls noise and surf upon the 
earth, but its depths are dumb and motionless 
and quite without any purpose are the ships sail- 
ing on its surface. How shall I describe it? 

Before I resolved to enroll myself as an earthly 
slave I did not speak to Maria or to Magnus. . . . 
Why should I speak to Maria when her beckoning 
is clear, like her gaze? But having become a 
slave I went to Magnus to complain and to seek 
advice apparently the human begins thus. 

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Satan's Diary 

Magnus heard me in silence and, as it seemed 
to me, with some inner excitement. He works day 
and night, virtually knowing no rest, and the com- 
plicated business of the liquidation of my prop- 
erty is moving forward as rapidly in his hands as 
if he had been engaged in such work all his life. 
I like his heroic gestures and his contempt for de- 
tails : when he cannot unravel a situation he hurls 
millions out of the window with the grace of a 
grandee. But he is weary and his eyes seem 
larger and darker on the background of his dim 
face. Only now have I learned from Maria that 
he is tortured by frequent headaches. 

My complaints against life, I fear, have failed 
to arouse any particular sympathy on his part: 
No matter what the accusations I brought against 
man and the life he leads, Magnus would reply 
impatiently : 

"Yes, yes, Wondergood. That is what being a 
man means. Your misfortune is that you discov- 
ered this rather late and are now quite unneces- 
sarily aroused. When you shall have experienced 
at least a part of that which now terrifies you, you 
will speak in quite a different tone. However, I 
am glad that you have dropped your indifference: 
you have become, much more nervous and ener- 
getic. But whence comes this immeasurable ter- 

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Satan's Diary 

ror in your eyesf Collect yourself, Wonder- 
good I" 

I laughed. 

6 i Thank you. I am quite collected. Apparently 
it is the slave, in expectation of the whip, who 
peers at you from within my eye. Have patience, 
Magnus. I am not quite acclimated to the situa- 
tion. Tell me, shall I or shall I not be compelled 
to commit . . . murder ?" 

" Quite possibly." 

"And can you tell me how this happens ?" 

Both of us looked simultaneously at his white 
hands and Magnus replied somewhat ironically: 

"No, I will not tell you that. But if you wish 
I will tell you something else : I will tell you what 
it means to accept man to the very end it is this 
that is really worrying you, is it not?" 

And with much coolness and a sort of secret 
impatience, as if another thought were devouring 
his attention, he told me briefly of a certain un- 
willing and terrible murderer. I do not know 
whether he was telling me a fact or a dark tale 
created for my personal benefit, but this was the 
story: It happened long ago. A certain Eussian, 
a political exile, a man of wide education yet 
deeply religious, as often happens in Russia, es- 
caped from katorga, and after long and painful 
wandering over the Siberian forests, he found 

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refuge with some non-conformist sectarians. 
Huge, wooden, fresh huts in a thick forest, sur- 
rounded by tall fences; great bearded people, 
large ugly dogs something on that order. And 
in his very presence, soon after his arrival, there 
was to be performed a monstrous crime: these 
insane mystics, under the influence of some wild 
religious fanaticism, were to sacrifice an innocent 
lamb, i.e., upon a home-made altar, to the accom- 
paniment of hymns, they were to kill a child. 
Magnus did not relate all the painful details, lim- 
iting himself solely to the fact that it was a seven 
year old boy, in a new shirt, and that his young 
mother witnessed the ceremony. All the reason- 
able arguments, . all the objections of the exile 
that they were about to perform a great sacrilege, 
that not the mercy of the Lord awaited them but 
the terrible tortures of hell, proved powerless to 
overcome the fierce and dull stubbornness of the 
fanatics. He fell upon his knees, begged, wept 
and tried to seize the knife at that moment the 
victim, stripped, was already on the table while 
the mother was trying desperately to control her 
tears and cries but he only succeeded in rousing 
the mad anger of the fanatics : they threatened to 
kill him, too. . . . 

Magnus looked at me and said slowly with a 
peculiar calm: 

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Satan's Diary 

"And how would you have acted in that case, 
Mr. Wondergood?" 

"Well, I would have fought until I was killed?' ' 
"Yes! He did better. He offered his services 
and with his own hand, with appropriate song, 
he cut the boy's throat. You are astonished? But 
he said: l Better for me to take this terrible sin 
and punishment upon myself than to surrender 
into the arms of hell these innocent fools.' Of 
course, such things happen only with Eussians 
and, it seems to me, he himself was somewhat de- 
ranged. He died eventually in an insane asy- 
lum." 

Following a period of silence, I asked : 
"And how would you have acted, Magnus?" 
And with still greater coolness, he replied : 
"Keally, I do not know. It would have de- 
pended on the moment. It is quite possible I 
would have left those beasts, but it is also pos- 
sible that I too . . . human madness is ex- 
tremely contagious, Mr. Wondergood!" 
"Do you call it only madness?" 
"I said: human madness. But it is you who are 
concerned in this, Wondergood: how do you like 
it? I am off to work. In the meantime, devote 
yourself to discerning the bowidary of the human, 
which you are now willing to accept in its entirety, 

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Satan's Diary 

and then tell me about it. You have not changed 
your intention, I hope, of remaining with us?" 

He laughed and went away, patronizingly po- 
lite. And I remained to think. And so I think: 
where is the boundary? 

I confess that I have begun to fear Magnus 
somewhat ... or is this fear one of the gifts of 
my complete human existence ? But when he 
speaks to me in this fashion I become animated 
with a strange confusion, my eyes move timidly, 
my will is bent, as if too great and strange a load 
had been put upon it. Think, man : I shake his big 
hand with reverence and find joy in his caress! 
This is not true of me before, but now, in every 
conversation, I perceive that this man can go 
further than I in everything. 

I fear I hate him. If I have not yet experienced 
love, I know not hatred either, and it will be 
strange indeed if I should be compelled to begin 
by hating the father of Maria ! ... In what a fog 
we do live, man! I have just merely mentioned 
the name of Maria, her clear gaze has only touched 
my soul and already my hatred of Magnus is ex : 
tinguished (or did I only conjure it up?) and 
extinguished also is my fear of man and life (or 
did I merely invent it?) and great joy, great peace 
has descended upon me. 

It is as if I were again a white schooner on the 
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Satan's Diary 

glassy ocean; as if I held all answers in my hand 
and were merely too lazy to open it and read there- 
in, as if immortality had returned to me . . . ah, 
I can speak no more, oh, man ! Let me press your 
hand? 

April 6, 1914. 

The good Toppi approves all my actions. He 
amuses me greatly, this good Toppi. As I 
expected, he has completely forgotten his true 
origin: he regards all my reminders of our 
past as jests. Sometimes he laughs but more of- 
ten he frowns as if he were hurt, for he is re- 
ligious and considers it an insult to be compared 
with a "horny" devil, even in jest: he himself is 
now convinced that devils have horns. His Amer- 
icanism, at first pale and weak, like a pencil 
sketch, has now become filled with color, and I, 
myself, am ready to believe all the nonsense given 
out by Toppi as his life it is so sincere and con- 
vincing. According to him, he has been in my 
service about fifteen years and particularly amus- 
ing it is to hear his stories of his youth. 

Apparently he, too, has been touched by the 
charms of Maria : my decision to surrender all my 
money to her father astonished him much less 
than I expected. He merely chewed his cigar for 
a moment and asked : 

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Satan's Diary 

"And what will he do with your money V 9 

"I do not know, Toppi." 

He raised his brow and frowned : 

"You are joking, Mr. Wondergood?" 

"You see, Toppi: just now we, i.e., Magnus is 
occupied in converting my estate into gold and 
jamming it into banks, in his name, of course. 
You understand? " 

"How can I fail to understand, Mr. Wonder- 
good?" 

"These are all preliminary, essential steps. 
What may happen further ... I do not know 
yet." 

"Oh, you are jesting again?" 

"You must remember, old man, that I myself 
did not know what to do with my money. It is 
not money that I need but new activity. You un- 
derstand? But Magnus knows. I do not know 
yet what his plans are but it is what Magnus said 
that is important to me: 'I will compel you to 
work, Wondergood!' Oh, Magnus is a great man. 
You will see that for yourself, Toppi!" 

Toppi frowned again and replied: 

"You are master of your money, Mr. Wonder- 
good." 

"Ah, you have forgotten everything, Toppi! 
Don't you remember about that play? That I 
wanted to play?" 

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Satan's Diary 

"Yes, you did say something about it. But I 
thought you were joking. ' ' 

"No, I was not joking. I was only mistaken. 
They do play here but this is not a theater. It is 
a gambling house and so I gave all my money to 
Magnus: let him break the bank. You under- 
stand! He is the banker, he will manage the 
game and I shall simply do the betting. . . . Quite 
a life, eh?" 

Apparently the old fool understood nothing. 
He kept raising and lowering his eyebrows and 
again inquired: 

"And how soon may we expect your betrothal 
to Signorina Maria!" 

"I do not know yet, Toppi. But that is not the 
thing. I see you are dissatisfied. You do not 
trust Magnus!" 

' l Oh, Signor Magnus is a worthy man. But one 
thing I do fear, Mr. Wondergood, if you will per- 
mit me to be frank : he is a man who does not be- 
lieve. This seems strange to me: how can the 
father of Signorina Maria be a non-believer? Is 
that not so ? Permit me to ask : do you intend to 
give anything to his Eminence!" 

"That depends now on Magnus." 

"Oh! On Signor Magnus! So, so. And do 
you know that His Eminence has already been to 
see Signor Magnus ! He was here a few days ago 

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Satan's Diary 

and spent several hours in this study. You were 
not at home at that time." 

"No, I do not know. We have not spoken about 
that, but have no fear : we will find something for 
the cardinal. Confess, old man : you are quite en- 
chanted with that old monkey f" 

Toppi glanced at me sharply and sighed. Then 
he lapsed into thought . . . and strange as it may 
seem something akin to a monkey appeared in 
his countenance, as in the cardinal's. Later, from 
somewhere deep within him, there appeared a 
smile. It illumined his hanging nose, rose to his 
eyes and blazed forth within them in two bright, 
little flames, not devoid of wanton malice. I 
looked at him in astonishment and even with joy: 
yes that was my old Toppi, risen from his human 
grave. ... I am convinced that his hair again 
has the smell of fur instead of oil! Gently I 
kissed his brow old habits cannot be rooted out , 
and exclaimed: 

"You are enchanting, Toppi! But what was it 
that gave you such joy?" 

"I waited to see whether he would show Maria 
to the cardinal ?" 

"Well?" 

"He did not!" 

"Well?" 

But Toppi remained silent. And as it had 
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Satan's Diary 

come so did the smile disappear, slowly: at first 
the hanging nose grew pale and became quite in- 
distinct, then all at once the flames within his 
eyes went out and again the old dejection, sour- 
ness and odor of church hypocrisy buried him who 
had been resurrected for a moment. It would 
have been useless to trouble the ashes with fur- 
ther questions. 

This happened yesterday. A warm rain fell 
during the day but it cleared up towards evening 
and Magnus, weary and apparently suffering with 
headache, suggested that we take a ride into the 
Campagna. We left our chauffeur behind, a prac- 
tice peculiar to all our intimate trips. His du- 
ties were performed by Magnus, with extraordin- 
ary skill and daring. On this occasion, his usual 
daring reached the point of audacity : despite the 
ever-thickening twilight and the muddy road, 
Magnus drove the automobile at such mad speed 
that more than once did I look up at his broad, 
motionless back. But that was only at first: the 
presence of Maria, whom I supported with my 
arm (I do not dare say embraced!) soon brought 
me to the loss of all my senses. I cannot describe 
it all to you so that you would really feel it the 
aromatic air of the Campagna, which caressed my 
face, the magnificence and charm of our arrow- 
like speed, my virtual loss of all sensation of ma- 

161 



Satan's Diary 

terial weight, of the complete disappearance of 
loody, when I felt myself a speeding thought, a 
flying gaze. . . . 

But still less can I tell you of Maria. Her Ma- 
donna gaze whitened in the twilight, like marble ; 
like the mysterious silence and perfect beauty of 
marble was her gentle, sweet and wise silence. I 
barely touched her slender, supple figure, but if I 
had been embracing within the hollow of my hand 
the entire firmness of earth and sky I could not 
have felt a more complete mastery of the whole 
world! Do you know what a line is in measure- 
ment? Not much, is that not so? And it was 
only by the measure of a line that Maria bent her 
divine form to me no, no more than that! But 
what would you say, man, if the swi, coming down 
from its course just one line were to come closer 
to you by that distance ? "Would you not consider 
it a miracle? 

My existence seemed unbounded, like the uni- 
verse, which knows neither your time nor dis- 
tance. For a moment there gleamed before me 
the wall of my unconsciousness, that unconquer- 
able barrier against which the spirit of him who 
has donned the human form beats in vain, and 
as quickly did it disappear: it was swallowed, 
without sound or conflict, by the waves of my new 
sea. Even higher they rose/, enshrouding the 

162 






Satan's Diary 

world. There was no longer anything to remem- 
ber for me or to know: my new human soul re- 
membered all and commanded all. I am a man! 

What gave me the idea that I hate Magnus ? I 
looked at this motionless, erect and firm human 
back and thought that behind it a heart was beat- 
ing. I thought of how painful and terrible it was 
for it to remain firm and erect and of how much 
pain and suffering had already fallen to the lot of 
this human creature, no matter how proud it 
might appear or dejected. And suddenly I real- 
ized to the extent of pain and tears, how much I 
loved Magnus, this very same Magnus! He 
speeds so wildly and has no fear! And the very 
moment I sensed this, Maria's eyes turned upon 
me. . . . Ah, they are as bright at night as they 
are by day! But at that moment there was a 
troubled look within them. They were asking: 
Why these tears f 

What could I say in reply with the aid of weak 
words ! I silently took Maria's hand and pressed 
it to my lips. And without taking her gaze off 
me, shining in cold, marble luster, she quietly 
withdrew her hand and I became confused and 
again gave it to me, taking off her glove. Will 
you permit me to discontinue, man? I do not 
know who you are, you who are reading these 
lines, and I rather fear you . . . your swift and 

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Satan's Diary 

daring imagination. Moreover, a gentleman feels 
ill at ease in speaking of his success with the 
ladies. Besides, it was time to return : on the hills 
the lights of Tivoli were already gleaming and 
Magnus reduced his speed. 

We were moving quite slowly on the return trip 
and Magnus, grown merry, wiping his brow with 
his handkerchief, now and then addressed brief 
remarks to us. There is one thing I will not con- 
ceal : her unquestionable womanliness emphasizes 
the completeness of my transformation. As we 
walked up the broad stairs of my palazzo, amid its 
princely wealth and beauty, I suddenly thought: 

"Why not send all this adventure to the devil! 
Why not simply wed and live like a prince in this 
palace? There will be freedom, children, laugh- 
ter, just earthly happiness and love. ' 9 

And again I looked at Magnus. He seemed 
strange to me : " I will take your money ! " Then I 
saw the stern gaze of my Maria and the contra- 
diction between her love and this plan of simple, 
modest happiness was so great and emphatic that 
my thought did not even require an answer. I 
now recollect this thought accidentally as a curi- 
osity of ' ' Toppism. ' ' Let me call it ' ' Toppism ' ' in 
honor of my perfect Toppi. 

The evening was charming. At Magnus ' re- 
quest, Maria sang. You cannot imagine the rev- 

164 



Satan's Diary 

erence with which Toppi listened to her singing! 
He dared not utter a word to Maria, but on leav- 
ing he shook my hand long and with particular 
warmth. Then, similarity, he shook the hand of 
Magnus. I also rose to retire. 

"Do you intend to do some work yet, Magnus !" 

"No. Don't you want to go to sleep, Wonder- 
good? Come to my room. We'll chat a bit. In- 
cidentally, there is a paper for you to sign. Do 
you want any wine?" 

"Oh, with pleasure, Magnus. I love conversa- 
tion at night." 

We drank the wine. Magnus, whistling some- 
thing out of tune, silently walked the carpet, while 
I, as usual, reclined in a chair. The Palazzo was 
all silence, like a sarcophagus, and this reminded 
me of that stirring night when Mad Mars raved 
behind the wall. Suddenly, Magnus exclaimed 
loudly, without hesitation : 

"The affair is progressing splendidly." 

"So?" 

"In two weeks everything will be completed. 
Your swollen, scattered wealth, in which one can 
be lost as in a wood, will be transformed into a 
clear, concise and exact sack of gold ... to be 
more correct into a mountain. Do you know the 
exact estimate of your money, Wondergood?" 

165 



Satan's Diary 

"Oh, don't, Magnus. I don't want to know 
Moreover, it's your money." 

Magnus looked at me quickly and said sharp! 

"No, it's yours." 

I shrugged my shoulders. I did not want to 
argue. It was so quiet and I so enjoyed watch- 
ing this strong man silently pacing to and fro. 
I still remembered his motionless, stern back, be- 
hind which I could clearly see his heart. He con- 
tinued, after a pause : 

"Do you know, Wondergood, that the Cardinal 
has been here?" 

"The old monkey? Yes, I know. What did he 
want?" 

' The same thing. He wanted to see you but I 
did not feel like taking you away from your 
thoughts." 

"Thanks. Did you drive him out?" 

Magnus replied angrily: 

"I am sorry to say, no. Don't put on airs, 
Wondergood: I have already told you that we 
must be careful of him as long as we remain here. 
But you are quite right. He is an old, shaven, 
useless, evil, gluttonous, cowardly monkey!" 

"Ah, ah! Then why not show him the door?" 

"Impossible." 

"I believe you, Magnus. And what does this 
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Satan's Diary 

king I hear about want, he who is to visit us some 
of these days?" 

" Ex-king. Probably the same thing. You 
should receive him yourself, of course." 

"But only in your presence. Otherwise I re- 
fuse. You must understand, my friend, that from 
that memorable night on I have been merely 
your disciple. You find it impossible to drive out 
the old monkey? Very well, let him remain. You 
say we must receive some ex-king? Very well, 
receive him. But I would rather be hanged on the 
first lamppost than to do so without knowing your 



reason.' 



"You are jesting again, Wondergood." 
"No, I am quite serious, Magnus. But I swear 
by eternal salvation that I know not what we are 
doing or intend to do. I am not reproaching you. 
I am not even questioning you : as I have already 
told you, I trust you and am ready to follow your 
directions. That you may not again reproach me 
with levity and impracticability, I may add a little 
business detail : Maria and her love are my host- 
ages. Moreover, I do not yet know to what you 
intend to devote your energy, of whose boundless- 
ness I am becoming more convinced each day; 
what plans and ends your experience and mind 
have set before you. But of one thing I have no 
doubt : they will be huge plans, great objects. And 

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Satan's Diary 

I, too, shall always find something to do beside 
you ... at any rate this will be much better 
than my brainless old women and six secretaries. 
Why do you refuse to believe in my modesty, as 
I believe in your . . . genius. Imagine that I 
am come from some other planet, from Mars, for 
instance, and wish in the most serious manner pos- 
sible, to pass through the experience of a man: 
. . . It is all very simple, Magnus!" 

Magnus frowned at me for a few moments and 
suddenly broke into laughter: 

"You certainly are a pilgrim from some other 
planet, Wondergood! . . . And what if I should 
devote your gold to doing evil?" 

"Why? Is that so very interesting?" 
"Hm! . . . You think that is not interesting?" 
"Yes, and so do you. You are too big a man to 
do little evil, just as billions constitute too much 
money, while honestly as far as great evil is con- 
cerned, I know not yet what great evil is? Per- 
haps it is really great good? In my recent con- 
templations, there . . . came to me a strange 
thought: Who is of greater use to man he who 
hates or he who loves him I You see, Magnus, 
how ignorant I still am of human affairs and . . . 
how ready I am for almost anything." 

Without laughter and, with what seemed to me, 
extreme curiosity, Magnus measured me with his 

168 



Satan's Diary 

eyes, as if he were deciding the question : is this 
a fool I see before me, or the foremost sage of 
America? Judging by his subsequent question he 
was nearer the second opinion : 

"So, if I have correctly understood your words, 
you are afraid of nothing, Mr. Wondergood?" 

"I think not." 

"And murder . . . many murders V 

"You remember the point you made in your* 
story about the boy of the boundary of the hu- 
man? In order that there may be no mistake, 
I have moved it forward several kilometers. Will 
that be enough?" 

Something like respect arose in Magnus' eyes 
. . . the devil take him, though, he really consid- 
ers me a clod! Continuing to pace the room, he 
looked at me curiously several times, as if he were 
trying to recall and verify my remark. Then, 
with a quick movement, he touched my shoulders : 

"You have an active mind, Wondergood. It is 
a pity I did not come to know you before." 

"Why?" 

"Just so. I am interested to know how you 
will speak to the king: he will probably suggest 
something very evil to you. And great evil is 
great good. Is that not so?" 

He again broke into laughter and shook his 
head in a friendly fashion. 

169 



Satan's Diary 

"I don't think so. The chances are he will pro- 
pose something very silly." 

"Hm! . . . And is that not great wisdom?" 
He laughed again but frowned suddenly and added 
seriously: "Do not feel hurt, Wondergood. I 
liked what you said very much and it is well you 
do not put any questions to me at this time: I 
could not answer them just now. But there is 
something I can say even now ... in general 
terms, of course. Are you listening?" 

"I am all attention." 

Magnus seated himself opposite me and, tak- 
ing a sip of wine, asked with strange seriousness : 

"How do you regard explosives?" 

"With great respect." 

1 1 Yes ? That is cold praise, but, I dare say, they 
don't deserve much more. Yet, there was a time 
when I worshiped dynamite as I do frankness 
. . . this scar on my brow is the result of my 
youthful enthusiasm. Since then I have made 
great strides in chemistry and other things 
and this has cooled my zeal. The drawback of 
every explosive, beginning with powder, is that 
the explosion is confined to a limited space and 
strikes only the things near at hand : it might do 
for war, of course, but it is quite inadequate where 
bigger things are concerned. Besides, being a 
thing of material limitations, dynamite or powder 

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Satan's Diary 

demands a constantly guiding hand : in itself, it is 
dumb, blind and deaf, like a mole. To be sure, 
in Whitehead's mine we find an attempt to create 
consciousness, giving the shell the power to cor- 
rect, so to speak, certain mistakes and to maintain 
a certain aim, but that is only a pitiful parody on 
eyesight. . . . ' 

"And you want your 'dynamite' to have con- 
sciousness, will and eyes!" 

"You are right. That is what I want. And 
my new dynamite does have these attributes : will, 
consciousness, eyes." 

"And what is your aim? But this sounds . . . 
terrible." 

Magnus smiled faintly. 

"Terrible! I fear your terror will turn to 
laughter when I give you the name of my dyna- 
mite. It is man. Have you never looked at man 
from this point of view, Wondergood?" 

"I confess, no. Does dynamite, too, belong to 
the domain of psychology? This is all very 
ridiculous." 

"Chemistry, psychology!" cried Magnus, an- 
grily: "that is all because knowledge has been 
subdivided into so many different subjects, just 
as a hand with ten fingers is now a rarity. You 
and your Toppi all of us are explosive shells, 
some loaded and ready, others still to be loaded. 

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Satan's Diary 

And the crux of the matter lies, you understand, 
in hqw to load the shell and, what is still more 
important: how to explode it. You know, of 
course, that the method of exploding various 
preparations depends upon their respective com- 
positions?" 

I am not going to repeat here the lecture on ex- 
plosives given me by Magnus with great zeal and 
enthusiasm: it was the first time I had seen him 
in such a state of excitement. Despite the ab- 
sorbing interest of the subject, as my friends the 
journalists would say, I heard only half the things 
he was saying and concentrated most of my atten- 
tion on his skull, the skull which contained such 
wide and dangerous knowledge. Whether it was 
due to the conviction carried in Magnus' words, 
or to pure weariness I know not which this 
round skull, blazing with the flames of his eyes, 
gradually assumed the character of a real, ex- 
plosive shell, of a bomb, with the fuse lit for ac- 
tion. ... I trembled when Magnus carelessly 
threw upon the table a heavy object resembling a 
cake of grayish-yellow soap, and exclaimed invol- 
untarily : 

"What's that?" 

' * It looks like soap or wax. But it has the force 
of a devil. One half of this would be enough to 
blow St. Peter's into bits. It is a capricious 

172 



Satan's Diary 

Devil. You may kick it about or chop it into 
pieces, you may burn it in your stove, it will re- 
main ever silent: a dynamite shell may tear it 
apart yet it will not rouse its wrath. I may throw 
it into the street, beneath the hoofs of horses ; the 
dogs may bite at it and children may play with 
it and still it remains indifferent. But I need 
only apply a current of high pressure to it and 
the force of the explosion will be monstrous, lim- 
itless. A strong but silly devil ! 

With equal carelessness, bordering almost upon 
contempt, Magnus threw his devil back into the 
table drawer and looked at me sternly. My eye- 
brows twitched slightly: 

"I see you know your subject to perfection, and 
I rather like this capricious devil of yours. But 
I would like to hear you discuss man." 

Magnus laughed: 

" And was it not of him I have just spoken? Is 
not the history of this piece of soap the history of 
your man, who can be beaten, burned, hacked to 
bits, hurled beneath the hoofs of horses, thrown 
to the dogs, torn into shreds without rousing his 
consuming wrath or even his anger? But prick 
him with something and the explosion will be 
terrible . . . as you will learn, Mr. Wondergood. " 

He laughed again and rubbed his white hands 
with pleasure: he scarcely remembered at that 

173 



Satan's Diary 

moment that human blood was already upon them. 
And is it really necessary for man to remember 
that? After a pause commensurate with the re- 
spect due to the subject, I asked : 

"And do you know how to make a man ex- 
plode 1" 

" Certainly. " 

"And would you consider it permissible to 
give me this information 1" 

"Unfortunately it is not so easy or convenient 
because the current of high pressure would re- 
quire too much elucidation, dear Wondergood." 

"Can't you put it briefly?" 

"Oh, briefly. Well, it is necessary to promise 
man some miracle." 

"Is that all!" 

"That is all." 

"Lies once more? The old monkey?" 

"Yes, lies again. But not the old monkey. It 
is not that I have in mind. Neither crusades nor 
immortality in heaven. This is the period of 
other miracles and other wonders. He promised 
resurrection to the dead. I promise resurrection 
to the living. His followers were the dead. Mine 
. . . ours are the living." 

"But the dead did not arise. How about the 
living?" 

"Who knows? We must make an experiment. 
174 






Satan's Diary 

I cannot yet confide in you the business end of 
the enterprise but I warn you: the experiment 
must be conducted on a very large scale. You are 
not afraid, Mr. Wondergood." 

I shrugged my shoulders indicating nothing 
definite. What could I answer? This gentle- 
man carrying upon his shoulders a bomb instead 
of a head again split me into two halves, of which 
man, alas, was the lesser one. As Wondergood, 
I confess without shame, I felt cruel fear and 
even pain : just as if the monstrous explosion had 
already touched my bones and were now break- 
ing them . . . ah, but where is my endless happi- 
ness with Maria, where the boundless peace of 
mind, where the devil is that white schooner? No, 
as Great Immortal Curiosity, as the genius of play 
and eternal movement, as the rapacious gaze of 
unclosing eyes I felt I confess this, too, without 
shame great joy, bordering upon ecstasy ! And 
with a shiver of delight I mumbled : 

" What a pity I did not know that before." 

"Why a pity?" 

"Oh, just so. Do 7 not forget that I am come 
from another planet and am only now getting 
acquainted with man. So what shall we do with 
this planet Magnus I ' f 

He laughed again : 

"You are a strange fellow, Wonder good I With 
175 



Satan's Diary 

this planet! We will give it a little holiday. But 
enough jesting. I do not like it!" He frowned 
angrily and looked at me sternly, like an old pro- 
fessor . . . the manner of this gentleman was 
not distinguished by flippancy. When it seemed 
to him that I had grown sufficiently serious he 
shook his head in approval and asked: "Do you 
know, Wondergood, that the whole of Europe is 
now in a very uneasy state I ' ' 

"War?" 

"Possibly war. Everybody is secretly expect- 
ing it. But war precedes the belief in the king- 
dom of miracles. You understand : we have lived 
too long in simple faith in the multiplication table, 
we are tired of the multiplication table, we are 
filled with ennui and anxiety on this straight road 
whose mire is lost in infinity. Just now all of us 
are demanding some miracle and soon the day 
will come when we will demand the miracle im- 
mediately ! It is not I alone who wants an experi- 
ment on a large scale the whole world is prepar- 
ing it ... ah, Wondergood, in truth, life would 
not be worth the candle if it were not for these 
highly interesting moments! Highly interest- 
ing!" He greedily rubbed his hands. 

"You are pleased?" 

"As a chemist, I am in ecstasy. My shells are 
already loaded, without being themselves con- 

176 



Satan's Diary 

scions of the fact, but they will know it well 
enough when I apply the torch. Can you imagine 
the sight when my dynamite will begin to explode, 
its consciousness, its will, its eyes directed straight 
upon its goal?" 

"And blood? Perhaps my reminder is out of 
place but I remember an occasion when you spoke 
of blood with much excitement. ' ' 

Magnus fixed his long gaze upon me : something 
akin to suffering appeared in his eyes: But this 
was not the prick of conscience or pity it was 
the emotion of a mature and wise man whose 
thoughts had been interrupted by the foolish ques- 
tion of a child: " Blood, " he said, "what blood 1" 

I recalled to him his words on that occasion and 
told him of my strange and extremly unpleasant 
dream about the bottles, filled with blood instead 
of wine, and so easily broken. Weary, with his 
eyes closed, he listened to my tale and sighed 
heavily. 

" Blood I" he murmured: "blood! that's non- 
sense. I told you many trite things on that occa- 
sion, Wondergood, and it is not worth while to 
recall them. However, if this gives you fear, it 
is not too late." 

I replied resolutely: 

"I fear nothing. As I have already said, I 
shall follow you everywhere. It is my blood that 

177 



'Satan's Diary 

is protesting you understand? not my con- 
sciousness or will. Apparently I shall be the first 
to be fooled by you : I, too, seek a miracle. Is not 
your Maria a miracle? I have been repeating the 
multiplication table night and day and I have 
grown to hate it like the bars of a prison. From 
the point of view of your chemistry, I am quite 
loaded and I ask but one thing: blow me up as 
quickly as possible!" 

Magnus agreed sternly: 

"Very well. In about two weeks. Are you 
satisfied?" 

"Thank you. I hope that Signorina Maria will 
then become my wife?" 

Magnus laughed. 

"Madonna?" 

"Oh, I don't understand your smile . . . and, 
I must say, my hope is altogether in conformity 
with the regard I bear for your daughter, Signor 
Magnus." 

' l Don 't excite yourself, Wondergood. My smile 
was not about Maria but about your faith in mir- 
acles. You are a splendid fellow, Wondergood. 
I am beginning to love you like a son. In two 
weeks you will receive everything and then we 
shall conclude a new and strong pact. Your hand, 
comrade ! ' ' 

For the first time he shook my hand in a strong, 
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Satan's Diary 

comradely fashion. I would have kissed him if 
there had been a simple human head instead of a 
bomb upon his shoulders. But to touch a bomb ! 
Not even in the face of my utmost respect for 
him! 

That was the first night that I slept like one 
slain and the stone walls of the palace did not 
press upon me. The walls were brushed by the 
explosive power of Magnus ' speech, while the 
roof melted away beneath the starry coverlet of 
Maria: my soul departed into the realms of her 
calm love and refuge. The mountain Tivoli and 
its fires that was what I saw as I fell into 
slumber. 

April 8, Rome. 

Before knocking at my door, His Majesty, 
the ex-King E. had knocked at no small number 
of entrances in Europe. True to the example 
of his apostolic ancestors, who believed in the 
gold of Israel, he particularly liked to approach 
Jewish bankers ; I believe that the honor done me 
by his visit was based upon his firm conviction 
that I was a Jew. Although His Majesty was 
visiting Rome incognito, I, warned of his visit, met 
him at the foot of the stairs and bowed low to 
him I think that is the requirement of etiquette. 
Then, also in accordance with etiquette, we intro- 

179 



Satan's Diary 

duced ourselves, he his adjutant, I Thomas 
Magnus. 

I confess I had not a very flattering opinion of 
the former king and that is why he astonished me 
all the more with his high opinion of himself. He 
gave me his hand politely but with such haughty 
indifference, he looked at me with such complete 
self-confidence, as if he were gazing at a being of 
a lower order, he walked ahead of me so naturally, 
sat down without invitation, gazed upon the walls 
and furniture in such frankly royal manner, that 
my entire uneasiness due to my unf amiliarity with 
etiquette disappeared immediately. It was only 
necessary to follow this fellow, who appeared to 
know everything so well. In appearance he was 
quite a young man, with fresh complexion and 
magnificent coiffure, somewhat worn out but suf- 
ficiently well-preserved, with colorless eyes and 
a calm, brazenly protruding lower lip. His hands 
were beautiful. He did not try to conceal that he 
was bored by my American face, which appeared 
Jewish to him, and by the necessity of asking me 
for money : he yawned slightly after seating him- 
self and said: 

"Sit down, gentlemen." 

And with a slight command of the hand he or- 
dered the adjutant to state the nature of his pro- 
posal. He paid no attention to Magnus at all, and 

180 



Satan's Diary 

while the fat, red and obliging adjutant was 
stealthily narrating the story of the "misunder- 
standing" which caused the departure of His 
Majesty from his country His Majesty was non- 
chalantly examining his feet. Finally, he inter- 
rupted his representative's speech with the im- 
patient remark: 

"Briefer, Marquis. Mr. . . . Wondergood is 
as well familiar with this history as we are. In 
a word, these fools kicked me out. How do you 
regard it, dear Wondergood?" 

"How do I regard it?" I bowed low: 

"I am glad to be of service to Your Majesty." 

"Well, yes, that's what they all say. But will 
you give me any money? Continue, Marquis." 

The Marquis, smiling gently at me and Magnus 
(despite his obesity he looked quite hungry) con- 
tinued to weave his thin flimsy web about the mis- 
understanding, until the bored king again inter- 
rupted him: 

"You understand: these fools thought that I 
was responsible for all their misfortunes. Wasn't 
that silly, Mr. Wondergood? And now they are 
worse off than ever and they write : * Come back, 
for God's sake. We are perishing!' Bead the 
letters, Marquis." 

At first the king spoke with a trace of excite-; 
ment but apparently any effort soon wearied him. 

181 



Satan's Diary 

The Marquis obediently took a packet of papers 
from the portfolio and tortured us with the com- 
plaints of the orphaned subjects, begging their 
lord to return. I looked at the king: he was no 
less bored than we were. It was so clear to him 
that the people could not exist without him that 
all confirmations of this seemed superfluous. . . . 
And I felt so strange : whence does this miserable 
man get so much happy confidence ? There was no 
doubt that this bird, unable to find a crumb for 
himself, sincerely believed in the peculiar quali- 
ties of his personage, capable of bestowing upon 
a whole people marvelous benefactions. Stupid- 
ity! Training? Habit? At that moment the mar- 
quis was reading the plea of some correspondent, 
in which, through the web of official mediocrity 
and the lies of swollen phrases, gleamed the very 
same confidence and sincere call. Was that, too, 
stupidity and habit? 

"And so forth, and so forth/' interrupted the 
king listlessly: "that will do, Marquis, you may 
close your portfolio. Well, what you think of it, 
dear Mr. Wondergood?" 

"I will be bold enough to say to Your Majesty 
that I am a representative of an old, democratic 
republic and ..." 

' ' Stop, Wondergood ! Eepublic, democracy ! 
That's nonsense. You know well enough yourself 

182 



Satan's Diary 

that a king is a necessity. You, in America, 
have a king, too, some day. How can you get 
along without a king : who will be responsible for 
them before God? No, that's foolish." 

This creature was actually getting ready to 
answer for the people before God ! And he con- 
tinued with the same calm audacity: 

1 ' The king can do everything. And what can a 
president do? Nothing. Do you understand, 
"Wondergood Nothing! "Why, then, do you want 
a president who can do nothing? " he deigned to 
twist his lower lip into a sarcastic smile. "It is 
all nonsense, invented by the newspapers. Would 
you, for example, take your president seriously, 
Mr. Wondergood?" 

"But representative government ..." 

"Fi! Excuse me, Mr. Wondergood (he recalled 
my name with great difficulty) but what fool will 
pay any attention to the representatives of the 
people? Citizen A will pay heed to Citizen B and 
Citizen B will pay heed to Citizen A is that not 
so? But who will compel their obedience if both 
of them are wise? No, I, too, have studied logic, 
Mr. Wondergood and you will permit me to in- 
dulge in a laugh!" 

He laughed slightly and said with his usual ges- 
ture: 

"Continue, Marquis . . . No, let me do it. The 
183 



Satan's Diary 

King can do everything, Wondergood, yon under- 
stand!" 

"But the law . . . " 

"Ah, this fellow, too, speaks of law. Do you 
hear, Marquis? No, I really can't understand 
what you want this law for ! That all may suffer 
equitably! However, if you are so keen on hav- 
ing law, law you shall have. But who will give it 

to you, if not If'' 

"But the representatives of the people . . . ' 

The king directed his colorless eyes upon me, 
almost in despair: 

"Ah, again citizen A and B ! But can't you un- 
derstand, dear Wondergood? "What kind of a 
law is it if they themselves make it? What wise 
man will agree to obey it? No, that's nonsense. 
Is it possible that you yourself obey this law, 
Wondergood?" 

"Not only I, Your Majesty, but the whole of 
America. ..." 

His eyes measured me with sympathy. 

"Pardon me, but I don't believe it. The whole 
of America! Well, in that case they simply don't 
understand what law is do you hear, Marquis, 
the whole of America! But that's not the thing. 
I must return, Wondergood. YouVe heard what 
the poor devils write?" 

184 



Satan's Diary 

"I am happy to see that the road is open for 
you, my lord. ' ' 

"Open? You think so? Hm! No, I need 
money. Some write and others don't, you under- 
stand?'' 

"Perhaps they don't know how to write, my 
lord?" 

1 ' They ? Oh ! You should have seen what they 
wrote against me. I was quite flustered. What 
they need is the firing squad." 

"All of them?" 

"Why all of them? Some of them will be 
enough. The rest of them will simply be scared 
to death. You understand, Wondergood, they 
have simply stolen my power from me and now, 
of course, will simply refuse to return it. Yon 
can't expect me to see to it that no one robs me. 
And these gentlemen," he indicated the blush- 
ing Marquis "to my sorrow did not manage to 
guard my interests." 

The Marquis mumbled confusedly : 

"Sire!" 

"Now, now, I know your devotion, but you were 
asleep at the switch just the same? And now 
there is so much trouble, so much trouble!" he 
sighed lightly. "Did not Cardinal X. tell you I 
needed money, Mr. Wondergood? He promised 
to. Of course I will return it all and . . . how- 

185 



Satan's Diary 

ever, you should take this matter up with the Mar- 
quis. I have heard that you love people very 
much, Mr. Wondergood?" 

A faint smile flitted over the dim face of Mag- 
nus. I bowed slightly. 

' ' The Cardinal told me so. That is very praise- 
worthy, Mr. Wondergood. But if you do love 
people you will certainly give me money. I don't 
doubt that in the least. They must have a king. 
The newspapers are merely prattling nonsense. 
Why do they have a king in Germany, a king in 
England, a king in Italy, and a hundred other 
kings? And don't we need a king too?" 

The adjutant mumbled : 

"A misunderstanding . . . " 

"Of course a misunderstanding. The Marquis 
is quite right. The newspapers call it a revolu- 
tion, but believe me, I know my people ; it is sim- 
ply a misunderstanding. They are now weeping 
themselves. How can they get along without a 
king? There would be no kings at all then. You 
understand? What nonsense! They now talk of 
no God, too. No, we must do a little shooting, a 
little shooting !" 

He rose quickly and this time shook my hand 
with a patronizing smile and bowed to Magnus. 

"Good-by, good-by, my dear Wondergood. 
You have a magnificent figure. . . . Oh, what a 

186 



Satan's Diary, 

splendid fellow! The Marquis will drop in to 
see you one of these days. There was something 
more I wanted to say. Oh, yes : I hope that you 
in America will have a king, too, in the near fu- 
ture . . . that is very essential, my friend. More- 
over, that's bound to be the end! Au revoir!" 

We escorted His Majesty with the same cere- 
mony. The Marquis followed and his bowed head, 
divided into two halves by the part in his reddish 
hair, and his red face bore the expression of hun- 
ger and constant failure. . . . Ah, he has so fre- 
quently and so fruitlessly orated about that 
* misunderstanding'! The King, apparently, also 
recalled at that moment his vain knocking about at 
other thresholds: his bloodless face again filled 
with grayish ennui and in reply to my parting 
bow, he opened wide his eyes, as if in astonish- 
ment, with the expression: what more does this 
fool want? Ah, yes, he has money. And lazily 
he asked: 

1 'And so, you'll not forget, Mr. . . . friend!" 
And his automobile was magnificent and just as 
magnificent was the huge chauffeur, resembling a 
gendarme, attired for the new role. When we 
had reascended the stairs (our respectful lackeys 
meanwhile gazing upon me as on a royal person- 
age) and entered our apartments, Magnus fell in- 
to a long, ironic silence. I asked: 

187 



Satan's Diary 

"How old is this creature?" 

"Didn't you know, Wondergood? That's bad. 
He is 32 years old. Perhaps less." 

"Did the Cardinal really speak of him and ask 
you to give him money?" 

"Yes, from what you may have left after the 
Cardinal's wants are attended to." 

"That is probably due to the fact that the 
monarchist form of government is also in vogue 
in heaven. Can you conceive of a republic of 
saints and the administration of the world on the 
basis of popular representation? Think of it: 
even devils will then receive the vote. A King is 
most necessary, Wondergood. Believe me." 

' ' Nonsense ! This is not worthy even of a jest. " 

"I am not jesting. You are mistaken. And 
pardon me for being so direct, my friend : in his 
discussion about kings he was above you, this 
time. You saw only a creature, a countenance of 
purely material limitations and ridiculous. He 
conceived himself to be a symbol. That is why 
he is so calm and there is no doubt that he will 
return to his beloved people." 

"And will do a little shooting." 

"And will do a little shooting. And will thro 1 
a little scare into them. Ah, Wondergood, 
stubborn you are in your refusal to part with the 
multiplication table! Your republic is a simple 

188 



Satan's Diary 

table, while a king do you realize it! is a 
miracle! What can there be simpler, sillier and 
more hopeles than a- million bearded men, gov- 
erning themselves, and how wonderful, how 
miraculous when this million of bearded fellows 
are governed by a creature ! That is a miracle ! 
And what possibilities it gives rise to ! It seemed 
very funny to me when you spoke with so much 
warmth about the law, this dream of the devil. 
A king is necessary for the precise purpose of 
breaking the law, in -order that the will may be 
above the law!" 

"But laws change, Magnus." 

"To change is only to submit to necessity and 
to new law, which was unknown to you before. 
Only by breaking the law do you elevate the will. 
Prove to me that God himself is subject to his own 
laws, i.e., to put it simply, that he cannot perform 
miracles, and to-morrow your shaven monkey will 
share the fate of loneliness and all the churches 
will be turned into horse stables. The miracle, 
Wondergood, the miracle that is what holds 
human beings on this cursed earth!" 

Magnus emphasized these words by banging 
the table with his fist. His face was gloomy. In 
his dark eyes there flickered unusual excitement. 
Speaking as if he were threatening some one, he 
continued: 

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Satan's Diary 

" He believes in miracles and I envy him. He is 
is insignificant, he is really what you might call a 
creature, but he believes in miracles. And he has 
already been a king and will be a king again! 
And we! . . . " 

He waved his hand contemptuously and began 
to pace the carpet like an angry captain the deck 
of his vessel. With much respect I gazed upon 
his heavy, explosive head and blazing eyes: for 
the first time I realized what Satanic ambitions 
there were concealed in this strange gentlemen. 
"And we!" Magnus noticed my gaze and shouted 
angrily : 

"Why do you look at me like that, Wonder- 
good? It's silly! You are thinking of my ambi- 
tion? That's foolish, Wondergood! Would not 
you, a gentleman of Illinois, also like to be .... 
well, at least, Emperor of Russia, where the will 
is still above the law?" 

' ' And on what particular throne have you your 
eye, Magnus?" I replied, no longer concealing 
my irony. 

"If you are pleased to think of me so flatter- 
ingly, Wondergood, I will tell you that I aim much 
higher. Nonsense, my friend! Only bloodless 
moralists have never dreamt of a crown, just as 
only eunuchs have never tempted themselves with 
the thought of woman. Nonsense! But I do not 

190 



Satan's Diary 

seek a throne not even the Russian throne : it is 
too cramping." 

"But there is another throne, Signer Magnus: 
the throne of God.' ' 

"But why only the throne of God! And have 
you forgotten Satan's, Mr. Wondergood?" 

And this he said to Me ... or did the whole 
street know that my throne was vacant! I bowed 
my head respectfully and said: 

"Permit me to be the first to greet you . . . 
Your Majesty." 

Magnus turned on me in wild wrath, gnashing 
his teeth, like a dog over a contested bone. And 
this angry atom wants to be Satan ! This handful 
of earth, hardly enough for one whiff for the 
Devil, is dreaming to be crowned with my crown ! 
I bowed my head still lower and dropped my eyes : 
I felt the gleaming flame of contempt and divine 
laughter blazing forth within them. I realized 
that it must not be given to my honored ward to 
know this laughter. I do not know how long we 
remained silent, but when our eyes met again 
they were clear, pure and innocent, like two 
bright rays in the shade. Magnus was the first to 
speak : 

"And so? "he said. 

"And so?" I replied. 

"Will you order money for the king?" 
191 



Satan's Diary 

"The money is at your disposal, my dear 
friend." 

Magnus looked at me thoughtfully. 

' ' It 's not worth while, ' ' he decided. ' ' This mir- 
acle is old stuff. It requires too many police to 
compel belief. We shall perform a better 
miracle." 

1 ' Oh, undoubtedly. We shall contrive a better 
device. In two weeks?" 

"Yes, about that!" replied Magnus cordially. 

We shook hands warmly in parting and in about 
two hours the gracious king sent each of us a 
decoration : some sort of a star for me and some- 
thing else for Magnus. I rather pitied the poor 
idiot who continued to play his lone hand. 

April 16, Borne. 

Maria is somewhat indisposed and I hardly 
see her. Magnus informed me of her illness and 
lied about it: for some reason he does not want 
me to see her. Does he fear anything? 

Again Cardinal X. called on him in my absence. 
Nothing is being said to me about the "miracle." 

But I am patient, and I wait. At first this 
was rather boresome but recently I have found a 
new pastime and now I am quite content. It is 
the Roman museums, where I spend my mornings, 
like a conscientious American who has just 

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Satan's Diary 

learned to distinguish between a painting and a 
piece of sculpture. But I have no Baedecker with 
me and I am strangely happy that I don 't under- 
stand a thing about it all: marble and painting. 
I merely like it. 

I like the odor of the sea in the museums. Why 
the sea? I do not know: the sea is far away and 
I rather expected the odor of decay. And it is 
so spacious here much more spacious than the 
Campagna. In the Campagna I see only space, 
over which run trains and automobiles. Here I 
swim in time. There is so much time here ! Then, 
too, I rather like the fact that here they preserve 
with great care a chip of a marble foot or a stony 
sole with a bit of the heel. Like an ass from Illi- 
nois, I simply cannot understand what value there 
is in this, but I already believe that it is valuable 
and I am touched by your careful thrift, little 
man! Preserve it! Go on breaking the feet of 
live men. That is nothing. But these you must 
preserve. It is good, indeed, when living, dying, 
ever changing men, for the space of 2000 years, 
take such good care of a chip of marble foot. 

When I enter the narrow museum from the 
Eoman street, where every stone is drowned in 
the light of- the April sun, its transparent and 
even shadow seems to me a peculiar light, more 
durable than the expensive rays of the sun. Afl 

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Satan's Diary 

far as I recollect it is thus that eternity doth shine. 
And these marbles! They have swallowed as 
much sunlight as an Englishman whiskey before 
they were driven into this place that they do not 
fear ii^ht at all. . . . And I, too, do not fear 
the night when I am near them. Take care of 
them, man! 

If this is what you call art, what an ass you are, 
Wondergood. Of course, you are cultured, you 
look upon art with reverence as upon religion and 
you have understood as much of it as that ass 
did on which the Messiah entered Jerusalem. And 
what if there should be a fire? Yesterday this 
thought troubled me all day and I went with it to 
Magnus. But he seems extremely occupied with 
something and could not, at first, understand what 
I was driving at. 

"What's the trouble, Wondergood? You want 
to insure the Vatican or something else? Make 
it clearer?" 

"Oh! to insure!" I exclaimed in anger: "you 
are a barbarian, Thomas Magnus ! ' ' 

At last he understood. Smiling cordially, he 
stretched, yawned and laid some paper before me. 

"You really are a gentleman from Mars, dear 
Wondergood. Don't contradict, and sign this 
paper. It is the last one." 

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Satan's Diary 

1 i I will sign, but under one condition. Your ex- 
plosion must not touch the Vatican/' 

He laughed again : 

" Would you be sorry? Then you had better 
not sign. In general, if you are sorry about any- 
thing about anything at all it would be better 
for us to part before it is too late. There is no 
room for pity in my game and my play is not for 
sentimental American girls. " 

"If you please. ... " I signed the paper and 
threw it aside. "But it seems as if you have ear- 
nestly entered upon the duties of Satan, dear 
Magnus !" 

"And does Satan have duties? Poor Satan! 
Then I don't want to be Satan!" 

"Neither duties nor obligations?" 

"Neither duties nor obligations." 

"And what then?" 

He glanced at me quickly with his gleaming 
eyes and replied with one short word, which cut 
the air before my face: 



"And . . . the current of high pressure?" 

Magnus smiled patronizingly: 

"I am very glad that you remember my words 
so well, Wondergood. They may be of use to 
you some day." 

Cursed dog. I felt so much like striking him 
195 



Satan's Diary 

that I bowed particularly low and politely. But 
he restrained me with a gracious gesture, point- 
ing to a chair : 

" Where are you going, Wondergood ? Sit 
down. We have seen so little of each other of 
late. How is your health ?" 

"Fine, thank you. And how is the health of 
Signorina Maria !" 

"Not particularly good. But it's a trifle. A 
few more days of waiting and you ... So you 
like the museums, Wondergood? There was a 
time when I, too, gave them much time and feel- 
ing. Yes, I remember, I remember. . . . Don't 
you find, Wondergood, that man, in mass, is a 
repulsive being ?" 

I raised my eyes in astonishment: 

"I do not quite understand this change of sub- 
ject, Magnus. On the contrary, the museums 
have revealed to me a new and more attractive 
side of man. ..." 

He laughed. 

"Love for mankind? . . . Well, well, do not 
take offense at the jest, Wondergood. You see : 
everything that man does in crayon is wonderful 
but repulsive in painting. Take the sketch of 
Christianity, with its sermon on the Mount, its 
lilies and its ears of corn, how marvelous it is! 
And how ugly is its picture with its sextons, its 

196 






Satan's Diary 

funeral pyres and its Cardinal X. ! A genius be- 
gins the work and an idiot, an animal, completes it. 
The pure and fresh wave of the ocean tide strikes 
the dirty shore and returns dirty, bearing back 
with it corks and shells. The beginning of love, 
the beginning of the Roman Empire and the great 
revolution how good are all beginnings! And 
their end ? And even if a man here and there has 
managed to die as beautifully as he was born, the 
masses, the masses, Wondergood, invariably end 
the liturgy in shamelessness ! ' ' 

"Oh, but what about the causes, Magnus V 9 

"The causes! Apparently we find concealed 
here the very substance of man, of animal, evil 
and limited in the mass, inclined to madness, eas- 
ily inoculated with all sorts of disease and crown- 
ing the widest possible road with a standstill. 
And that is why Art is so much above Man ! ' J 

"I do not understand. " 

"What is there incomprehensible about it 7 In 
art it is the genius who begins and the genius com- 
pletes. You understand: the genius! the fool, 
the imitator or the critic is quite powerless to 
change or mar the paintings of Velasquez, the 
sculpture of Angelo or the verse of Homer. He 
can destroy, smash, break, burn or deface, but he 
is quite powerless to bring them down to his own 
level and that is why he so detests real art. 

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Satan's Diary 

You understand, Wondergood? His paw is help- 
less!'' 

Magnus waved his white hand and laughed. 

"But why does he guard and protect it so as- 
siduously. ' ' 

"It is not he who guards and protects. This is 
done by a special species of faithful watchmen" 
Magnus laughed again: "and did you observe 
how uncomfortable they feel in the museum V 9 

"Who they 1" 

"Well, those who came to view the things! But 
the most ridiculous phase of the whole business 
is not that the fool is a fool but that the genius 
unswervedly worships the fool as a neighbor and 
fellow being and anxiously seeks his devastating 
love. As if he were a savage himself, the genius 
does not understand that his true neighbor is a 
genius similar to himself and he is eternally open- 
ing his embraces to the near human . . . who 
eagerly crawls into them in order to abstract the 
watch from his vest pocket ! Yes, my dear Won- 
dergood, it is a most laughable point and I 
fear. 

He lapsed into thought, fixing his eyes upon the 
floor : thus apparently do human beings gaze into 
the depths of their own graves. And I understood 
just what this genius feared, and once again I 
bowed before the Satanic mind which in all the 

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Satan's Diary 

world recognized only itself and its own will. 
Here was a god who would not share his power 
with Olympus! And what a contempt for man- 
kind! And what open contempt for me! Here 
was a grain of earth that could make the devil 
himself sneeze! 

And do you know how I concluded that evening? 
I took my pious Toppi by the neck and threatened 
to shoot him if he did not get drunk with me. And 
drunk we did get ! We began in some dirty little 
cafe and continued in some night taverns where I 
generously filled some black-eyed bandits with 
liquor, mandolin players and singers, who sang 
to me of Maria : I drank like a farm hand who had 
just arrived in the city after a year of sober labor. 
Away with the museums! I remember that I 
shouted much and waved my hands but never 
did I love my Maria so tenderly, so sweetly and 
so painfully as in that smoke of drink, permeated 
with the odor of wine, oranges and some burning 
fat, in this wide circle of black bearded stealthy 
faces and rapaciously gleaming eyes, amid the 
melodious strains of mandolins which opened for 
me the very vestibules of heaven and hell ! 

I vaguely remember some very accommodating 
but pompous murderers, whom I kissed and for- 
gave in the name of Maria. I remember that I 
proposed that all of us go to drink in the Col- 

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Satan's Diary 

iseum, in the very place where martyrs used to 
die but I do not know why we did not do it I be- 
lieve there were technical difficulties. And how 
splendid Toppi was ! At first he drank long and 
silently, like an archbishop. Then he suddenly 
began to perform interesting feats. He put a 
bottle of Chianti on his nose, the wine running 
all over him. He tried to perform some tricks 
with cards but was immediately caught by the 
affable bandits who brilliantly repeated the same 
trick. He walked on all fours and sang some re- 
ligious verses through his nose. He cried and 
suddenly announced frankly that he was a devil. 

We walked home staggering along the street, 
bumping into walls and lampposts and hilari- 
ously enjoying ourselves like two students. Toppi 
tried to pick a quarrel with some policemen, but, 
touched by their politeness, he ended by confer- 
ring his stern blessing upon them, saying 
gloomily : 

"Go and sin no more." 

Then he confessed with tears that he was in 
love with a certain signorina, that his love was 
requited and that he must therefore resign his 
spiritual calling. Saying this, he lay down upon a 
stony threshold and fell into a stubborn sleep. 
And thus I left him. 

Maria, Maria, how you tempt me! Not once 
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Satan's Diary 

have I touched your lips. Yesterday I kissed 
only red wine . . . but whence come these burning 
traces on my lips! But yesterday I stood upon 
my knees, Madonna, and covered you with flowers : 
but yesterday I timidly laid hands upon the hem 
of your garment, and to-day you are only a woman 
and I want you. My hands are trembling. The 
obstacles, the halls, the paces and the thresholds 
separating us drive me mad. I want you ! I did 
not recognize my own eyes in the mirror: there 
is a thick shadow upon them. I breathe heavily 
and irregularly, and all day long my thoughts are 
wandering lustfully about your naked breast. I 
have forgotten everything. 

In whose power am I? It bends me like soft, 
heated iron. I am deafened, I am blinded by my 
own heat and sparks. What do you do, man, when 
ihat happens to you! Do you simply go and take 
the woman? Do you violate her? Think: it is 
night now and Maria is so close by. I can ap- 
proach her room without a sound. . . . and I want 
to hear her cries ! But suppose Magnus bars the 
road for me ? I will kill Magnus. 

Nonsense. 

No, tell me, in whose power am If You ought 
to know that man? To-day, just before evening, 
as I was seeking to escape from myself and Maria, 
I wandered about the streets, but it was worse 

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Satan's Diary 

there: everywhere I saw men and women, men 
and women. As if I had never seen them before ! 
They all appeared naked to me. I stood long at 
Monte-Picio and tried to grasp what a sunset was 
but could not : before me there passed by in end- 
less procession those men and women, gazing into 
each other's eyes. Tell me what is Woman? I 
saw one very beautiful in an automobile. The 
sunset threw a rosy glow upon her pale face and 
in her ears there glistened two diamond sparks. 
She gazed upon the sunset and the sunset gazed 
on her, but I could not endure it : sorrow and love 
gripped my heart, as if I were dying. There be- 
hind her were trees, green, almost black. 
Maria ! Maria ! 

April 19, Isle of Capri. 

Perfect calm reigned upon the sea. From a 
high precipice I gazed long upon a little schooner, 
motionless in the blue expanse. Its white sails 
were rigidly still and it seemed as happy as on 
that memorable day. And, again, great calm de- 
scended upon me, while the holy name of Maria 
resounded purely and peacefully, like the Sabbath 
bells on the distant shore. 

There I lay upon the grass, my face toward 
the sky. The good earth warmed my back, while 
my eyes were pierced with warm light, as if I had 

202 



Satan's Diary 

thrust my face into the sun. Not more than three 
paces away there lay an abyss, a steep precipice, 
a dizzying wall, and it was delightful to imbibe 
the odor of grass and the Spring flowers of Capri. 
There was also the odor of Toppi, who was lying 
beside me : when he is heated by the sun he emits 
the smell of fur. He was all sunburned, just as if 
he had been smeared with coal. In general, he is 
a very amiable old Devil. 

The place where we lay is called Anacapri and 
constitutes the elevated part of the island. The 
sun had already set when we began our trip down- 
ward and a half moon had risen in the sky. But 
there was the same quiet and warmth and from 
somewhere came the strains of mandolins in love, 
calling to Maria. Maria everywhere! But my 
love breathed with great calm, bathed in the pure 
moonlight rays, like the little white houses below. 
In such a house, at one time, did Maria live, and 
into just such a house I will take her in about 
four days. 

A high wall along which the road ran, concealed 
the moon from us and here we beheld the statue 
of an old Madonna, standing in a niche, high above 
the road and the surrounding bushes. Before her 
burned with a weak flame the light of an image- 
lamp, and she seemed so alive in her watchful 
silence that my heart grew cold with sweet terror. 

203 



Satan's Diary 

Toppi bowed Ms head and mumbled a prayer, 
while I removed my hat and thought : 

How high above this earthly vessel, filled 
with moonlit twilight and mysterious charms, you 
stand. Thus does Maria stand above my soul. . . . 

Enough ! Here again the extraordinary begins 
and I must pause. We shall soon drink some 
champagne and then we shall go to the cafe. I 
understand they expect some mandolin players 
from Naples there to-day. Toppi would rather be 
shot than follow me: his conscience troubles him 
to this day. But it is good that I will be alone. 



April 23 Borne, 
Palazzo Orsini. 

. . . Night. My palace is dead and silent, as if 
it were one of the ruins of ancient Borne. Beyond 
the large window lies the garden: it is transpar- 
ent and white with the rays of the moon and 
the vaporous pole of the fountain resembles a 
headless vision in a silver veil. Its splash is 
scarcely heard through the thick window-pane 
as if it were the sleepy mumbling of the night 
guard. 

Yes, this is all beautiful and . . . how do you 
put it? it breathes with love. Of course, it 
would be good to walk beside Maria over the blue 

204 



Satan's Diary 

sand of the garden path and to trample upon her 
shadow. But I am disturbed and my disquiet is 
wider than love. In my attempts to walk lightly 
I wander about the room, lean against the wall, 
recline in silence in the corners, and all the time 
I seem to hear something. Something far away, 
a thousand kilometers from here. Or is this all 
lodged in my memory that which I strain my 
ear to catch? And the thousand kilometers are 
they the thousand years of my life? 

You would be astonished if you saw how I was 
dressed. My fine American costume had suddenly 
become unbearably heavy, so I put on my bathing 
suit. This made me appear thin, tall -and wiry. 
I tried to test my nimbleness by crawling about 
the floor, suddenly changing the direction, like a 
noiseless bat. But it is not I who am restless. 
It is my muscles that are filled with this unrest, 
and I know not what they want. Then I began 
to feel cold. I dressed and sat down to write. I 
drank some wine and drew down the curtains to 
shut the white garden from my eyes. Then I 
examined and fixed my Browning. I intend to 
take it with me to-morrow for a friendly chat with 
Magnus. 

You see, Thomas Magnus has some collabora- 
tors. That is what he calls those gentlemen un- 
known to me who respectfully get out of my way 

205 



Satan's Diary 

when we meet, but never greet me, as if we were 
meeting in the street and not in my house. There 
were two of them when I went to Capri. Now 
they are six, according to what Toppi tells me, 
and they live here. Toppi does not like them. 
Neither do I. They seem to have no faces. I 
could not see them. I happened to think of that 
just now when I tried to recall them. 

" These are my assistants," Magnus told me 
to-day without trying in the least to conceal his 
ridicule. 

"Well, I must say, Magnus, they have had bad 
training. They never greet me when we meet." 

1 ' On the contrary, dear Wondergood ! They are 
very well-mannered. They simply cannot bring 
themselves to greet you without a proper intro- 
duction. They are . . . extremely correct people. 
However, you will learn all to-morrow. Don't 
frown. Be patient, Wondergood! Just*one more 
night!" 

"How is Signorina Maria's health?" 

"Tomorrow she will be well." He placed his 
hand upon my shoulder and brought his dark, evil, 
brazen eyes closer to my face : ' l The passion of 
love, eh?" 

I shook off his hand and shouted: 

" Signor Magnus ! I ..." 

"You!"' he frowned at me and calmly turned 
206 



Satan's Diary 

his back upon me : ' ' Till to-morrow, Mr. Wonder- 
good!" 

That is why I loaded my revolver. In the 
evening I was handed a letter from Magnus : he 
begged my pardon, said his conduct was due to 
unusual excitement and he sincerely sought my 
friendship and confidence. He also agreed that 
his collaborators are really ill-mannered folk. I 
gazed long upon these hasty illegible lines and 
felt like taking with me, not my revolver, but a 
cannon. 

One more night, but how long it is! 

There is danger facing me. 

I feel it and my muscles know it, too. Do you 
think that I am merely afraid? I swear by eter- 
nal salvation no ! I know not where my fear has 
disappeared, but only a short while ago I was 
afraid of everything: of darkness, death and the 
most inconsequential pain. And now I fear noth- 
ing. I only feel strange ... is that how you put 
it: strange? 

Here I am on your earth, man, and I am think- 
ing of another person who is dangerous to me and 
I myself am man. And there is the moon and 
the fountain. And there is Maria, whom I love. 
And here is a glass and wine. And this is my 
and your life. Or did I simply imagine that I was 
Satan once ? I see it is all an invention, the f oun- 

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Satan's Diary 

tain and Maria and my very thoughts on the man 
: Magnus, but the real my mind can neither un- 
ravel nor understand. I assiduously examine my 
memory and it is silent, like a closed book, and I 
have no power to open this enchanted volume, con- 
cealing the whole past of my being. Straining my 
eyesight, I gaze into the bright and distant depth 
from which I came upon this pasteboard earth- 
but I see nothing in the painful ebb and flow of the 
boundless fog. There, behind the fog, is my coun- 
try, but it seems it seems I have quite forgotten 
the road. 

I have again returned to Wondergood's bad 
habit of getting drunk alone and I am slightly 
drunk now. No matter. It is the last time. I 
have just seen something after which I wish to see 
nothing else. I felt like taking a look at the white 
garden and to imagine how it would feel to walk 
beside Maria over the path of blue sand. I turned 
off the light in the room and opened wide the drap- 
eries. And the white garden arose before me, like 
a dream, and think of it ! over the path of blue 
sand there walked a man and a woman and the 
woman was Maria! They walked quietly, tram- 
pling upon their own shadows, and the man em- 
braced her. The little counting machine in my 
breast beat madly, fell to the floor and broke, 
when, finally, I recognized the man it was Mag- 

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Satan's Diary 

nus, only Magnus, dear Magnus, the father. May 
he be cursed with his fatherly embraces ! 

Ah, how my love for Maria surged up again 
within me ! I fell on my knees before the window 
and stretched out my hands to her. . . To be 
sure, I had already seen something of that kind in 
the theater, but it's all the same to me : I stretched 
out my hands was I not alone and drunk! Why 
should I not do what I want to do? Madonna! 
Then I suddenly drew down the curtain ! 

Quietly, like a web, like a handful of moonlight, 
I will take this vision and weave it into night 
dreams. Quietly! , . . Quietly! . . . 



209 



IV 



May 25, 1914. Italy. 

HAD I at my disposal, not the pitiful word 
but a strong orchestra, I would compel all 
the brass trumpets to roar. I would raise 
their blazing mouths to the sky and would compel 
them to rave incessantly in a blazen, screeching 
voice which would make one's hair stand on end 
and scatter the clouds in terror. I do not want the 
lying violins. Hateful to me is the gentle murmur 
of false strings beneath the fingers of liars and 
scoundrels. Breath! Breath! My gullet is like 
a brass horn. My breath a hurricane, driving 
forward into every narrow cleft. And all of me 
rings, kicks and grates like a heap of iron in the 
face of the wind. Oh, it is not always the mighty, 
wrathful roar of brass trumpets. Frequently, 
very frequently it is the pitiful wail of burned, 
rusty iron, crawling along lonely, like the winter, 
the whistle of bent twigs, which drives thought 
cold and fills the heart with the rust of gloom and 
homelessncss. Everything that fire can touch has 
burned up within me. Was it I who wanted to 

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Satan's Diary 

play I Was it I who yearned for the game? Then 
look upon this monstrous ruin of the theater 
wrecked by the flames : all the actors, too, have lost 
their lives therein . . . ah, all the actors, too, have 
perished, and brazen Truth peers now through the 
beggarly holes of its empty windows. 

By my throne, what was that love I prattled 
of when I donned this human form? To whom 
was it that I opened my embraces? Was it you 
. . . comrade? By my throne! if I was Love 
but for a single moment, henceforth I am Hate 
and eternally thus I remain. 

Let us halt at this point to-day, dear comrade. 
It has been quite some time since I moved my pen 
upon this paper and I must now grow accustomed 
anew to your dull and shallow face, smeared o'er 
with the red of your cheeks. I seem to have for- 
gotten how to speak the language of respectable 
people who have just received a trouncing. Get 
thee hence, my friend. To-day I am a brass trum- 
pet. Tickle not my throat, little worm. Leave 
me. 

May 26, Italy. 

It was a month ago that Thomas Magnus blew 
me up. Yes, it is true. He really blew me up and 
it was a month ago, in the holy City of Borne, 
in the Palazzo Orsini, when I still belonged to the 

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Satan's Diary 

billionaire Henry Wondergood do you remember 
that genial American, with his cigar and patent 
gold teeth? Alas! He is no longer with ns. He 
died suddenly and you will do well if you order a 
requiem mass for him: his Illinois soul is in need 
of your prayers. 

Let us return, however, to his last hours. I 
shall try to be exact in My recollections and give 
you not only the emotions but also the words of 
that evening it was evening, when the moon was 
shining brightly. Perhaps I shall not give you 
quite the words spoken but, at any rate, they will 
be the words I heard and stored away in my 
memory. ... If you were ever whipped, worthy 
comrade, then you know how difficult it was for 
you to count all the blows of the whip. A change 
of gravity! You understand? Oh, you under- 
stand everything. And so let us receive the last 
breath of Henry Wondergood, blown up by the 
culprit Thomas Magnus and buried by ... Maria. 

I remember : I awoke on the morning after that 
stormy evening, calm and even gay. Apparently 
it was the effect of the sun, shining into that same, 
broad window through which, at night, there 
streamed that unwelcome and too highly signifi- 
cant moonlight. You understand: now the moon 
and now the sun? Oh, you understand every- 
thing. It is probably for the very same rea- 

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Satan's Diary 

son I acquired my touching faith in the integrity 
of Magnus and awaited toward evening that cloud- 
less bliss. This expectation was all the greater 
because his collaborators . . . you remember his 
collaborators? had begun to greet and bow to 
me. What is a greeting? ah, how much it means 
to the faith of man! 

You know my good manners and, therefore, will 
believe me when I say that I was cold and re- 
strained like a gentleman who has just received 
a legacy. But if you had put your ear to my belly 
you would have heard violins playing within. 
Something about love, you understand. Oh, you 
understand everything. And thus, with these vio- 
lins did I come to Magnus in the evening when 
the moon was shining brightly. Magnus was 
alone. We were long silent and this indicated 
that an interesting conversation awaited me. Fi- 
nally I said: 

"How is the Signorina's health?" . . . 

But he interrupted me : 

"We are facing a very difficult talk, Wonder- 
good? Does that disturb you!" 

"Oh, no, not at all" 

' ' Do you want wine ? Well, never mind. I shall 
drink a little but you need not. Yes, Wonder- 
good?" 

He laughed as he poured out the wine and here 
213 



Satan's Diary 

I noticed with astonishment that he himself was 
very excited: his large, white, hangman's hands 
were quite noticeably trembling. I do not know 
exactly just when my violins ceased I think it 
was at that very moment. Magnus gulped down 
two glasses of wine he had intended to take only 
a little and, sitting down, continued: 

"No, you ought not to drink, Wondergood. I 
need all your senses, undimmed by anything . . . 
you didn't drink anything to-day? No? That's 
good. Your senses must be clear and sober. One 
must not take anesthetics in such cases as . 



as . ." 



"As vivisection?" 

He shook his head seriously in affirmation. 

"Yes, vivisection. You have caught my idea 
marvelously. Yes, in cases of vivisection of the 
soul. For instance, when a loving mother is in- 
formed of the death of her son or ... a rich man 
that he has become penniless. But the senses, 
what can we do with the senses, we cannot hold 
them in leash all our life ! You- understand, Won- 
der,good? In the long run, I am not in the least 
so cruel a man as I occasionally seem even to my- 
self and the pain of others frequently arouses in 
me an unpleasant, responsive trembling. That is 
not good. A surgeon's hand must be firm." 

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Satan's Diary 

He looked at his fingers : they no longer trem- 
bled. He continued with a smile : 

"However, wine helps some. Dear Wonder- 
good, I swear by eternal salvation, by which you 
love so to swear, that it is extremely unpleasant 
for me to cause you this little . . . pain. Keep 
your senses, Wondergood! Your senses, your 
senses! Your hand, my friend?" 

I gave him my hand and Magnus enveloped my 
palm and fingers and held them long in his own 
paw, strained, permeated with some kind of elec- 
tric currents. Then he let them go, sighing with 
relief. 

"That's it. Just so. Courage, Wondergood!" 

I shrugged my shoulders, lit a cigar and asked : 

"Your illustration of the very wealthy man 
who has suddenly become a beggar, does that 
concern me? Am I penniless?" 

Magnus answered slowly as he gazed straight 
into my eyes : 

"If you wish to put it that way yes. You have 
nothing left. Absolutely nothing. And this pal- 
ace, too, is already sold. To-morrow the new 
owners take possession." 

"Oh, that is interesting. And where are my 
billions?" 

"I have them. They are mine. I am a very 
wealthy man, Wondergood." 

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Satan's Diary 

I moved my cigar to the other corner of my 
mouth and asked: 

"And you are ready, of course, to give me a 
helping hand? You are a contemptible scoundrel, 
Thomas Magnus." 

"If that's what you call me yes. Something 
on that order." 

"And a liar!" 

"Perhaps. In general, dear Wondergood, it is 
very necessary for you to change your outlook 
on life and man. You are too much of an 
idealist." 

"And you" I rose from my chair "for you 
it is necessary to change your fellow conversation- 
alist. Permit me to bid you good-by and to send 
a police commissary in my place." 

Magnus laughed. 

* ' Nonsense, Wondergood ! Everything has been 
done within the law. You, yourself, have handed 
over everything to me. This will surprise no one 
. . . with your love for humanity. Of course, you 
can proclaim yourself insane. You understand? 
^-and then, perhaps, I may get to the peniten- 
tiary. But you you will land in an insane asy- 
lum. You would hardly like that, dear friend. 
Police! Well, go on talking. It will relieve the 
first effects of the blow. ' ' 

I think it was really difficult for me to conceal 
216 



Satan's Diary 

my excitement. I hurled my cigar angrily into 
the fireplace, while my eye carefully measured 
both the window and Magnus . . . no, this car- 
cass was too big to play ball with. 

At that moment the loss of my wealth had not 
yet fully impressed itself upon my mind and it 
was that which maddened me as much as the 
brazen tone of Magnus and the patronizing man- 
ner of the old scoundrel. In addition, I dimly 
sensed something portentous of evil and sorrow, 
like a threat : as if some real danger were lurking 
not in front of me but behind my back. 

"What is this all about? " I shouted, stamping 
my foot. 

"What is this all about f " replied Magnus, like 
an echo. "Yes, I really cannot understand why 
you are so excited, Wondergood. You have so fre- 
quently offered me this money and even forced it 
upon me and now, when the money is in my hands, 
you want to call the police ! Of course/' Magnus 
smiled "there is a slight distinction here: in 
placing your money so magnanimously at my dis- 
posal, you still remained its master and the mas- 
ter of the situation, while now . . . you under- 
stand, old friend : now I can simply drive you out 
of this house ! ' ' 

I looked at Magnus significantly. He replied 
217 



Satan's Diary 

with no less a significant shrug of the shoulders 
and cried angrily : 

' ' Stop your nonsense. I am stronger than you 
are. Do not try to be more of a fool than is abso- 
lutely necessitated by the situation." 

"You are an unusually brazen scoundrel, Sig- 
nor Magnus!" 

"Again! How these sentimental souls do seek 
consolation in words ! Take a cigar and listen to 
me. I have long needed money, a great deal of 
money. In my past, which I need not disclose to 
you, I have suffered certain . . . failures. They 
irritated me considerably. Fools and sentimental 
souls, you understand? My energy was impris- 
oned under lock and key, like a bird in a cage. 
For three years I sat in this cursed cage, await- 
ing my chance . . . ' 

"And all that in the beautiful Campagna?" 

"Yes, in the beautiful Campagna . . . and I 
had already begun to lose hope, when you ap- 
peared. I find it difficult to express myself at this 
point ..." 

"Be as direct as you can. Have no compunc- 
tions. " 

"You seemed very strange with all this love of 
yours for men and your play, as you finally termed 
it, and, my friend, for a long time I had grave 
doubts as to what you really were : an extraordin- 

218 



Satan's Diary 

ary fool or just a scoundrel, like myself. You see, 
such extraordinary asses appear so seldom that 
even I had my doubts. You are not angry ?" 

"Oh, not at all" 

"You forced money upon me and I thought: a 
trap I However you made your moves quickly and 
certain precautions on my part . . . ' 

"Pardon me for interrupting. So, those books 
of yours, your solitary contemplation of life, that 
little white house and everything was all a lie? 
And murder do you remember all that drivel 
about hands steeped in blood ?" 

"Yes, I did kill. That is true. And I have pon- 
dered much upon life, while awaiting you, but the 
rest, of course, was falsehood. Very base false- 
hood, but you were so credulous. . . . " 

"And . . . Maria?" 

I confess that I had hardly uttered this name 
when I felt something clutching at my throat. 
Magnus looked at me sharply and said gloomily: 

"We will discuss Maria, too. But how excited 
you are ! Even your nails have turned blue. Per- 
haps you'll have some wine? Well, never mind. 
Have patience. I shall continue. When you be- 
gan your affair with Maria ... of course with 
my slight assistance ... I finally concluded that 
you were . . . " 

"An extraordinary ass?" 
219 



Satan's Diary 

Magnus raised his hand is consoling gesture : 

"Oh, no! You seemed to me to be that at the 
beginning. I will tell you quite truthfully, as I do 
everything I am telling you now: you are not a 
fool at all, Wondergood. I have grown to know 
you more intimately. It doesn't matter that you 
have so naively surrendered your billions to me 
. . . many wise men have been fooled before by 
clever . . . scoundrels ! Your misfortune is quite 
another thing. ' ' 

I had the strength to smile : 

"My love for human beings?" 

"No, my friend: your contempt for human 
beings ! Your contempt and at the same time your 
naive faith in them arising from it. You regard 
human beings so far below you, you are so con- 
vinced of their fatal powerlessness that you do 
not fear them at all and are quite ready to pat the 
rattlesnake's head: such a nice little rattlesnake! 
One should fear people, comrade! I know your 
game, but at times you were quite sincere in your 
prattle about man, you even pitied him, but from 
an elevation or from a sidetrack I know not 
which. Oh, if you could only hate people I would 
take you along with me with pleasure. But you 
are an egotist, a terrible egotist, Wondergood, 
and I am even beginning to shed my regrets for 

220 



Satan's Diary 

having robbed you, when I think of that ! Whence 
comes this base contempt of yours V 9 

"I am still only learning to be a man." 

"Well, go on learning. But why do you call 
your professor a scoundrel : For I am your pro- 
fessor, Wondergood!" 

"To the devil with this prattle. So ... you 
do not intend to take me along with you?" 

' ' No, my friend, I do not. ' ' 

"So. Only my billions. Very well, but what 
about your plan: to blow up the earth or some- 
thing of that kind? Or did you lie on this point, 
too? I cannot believe that you simply intend to 
open ... a money changer's bureau or become 
some ragged king!" 

Magnus looked at me gloomily There was even 
a gleam of sympathy in his eyes as he repk'ed 
slowly: 

' ' No, on that point I did not lie. But you won 't 
do for me. You would always be hanging on to 
my coat tails. Just now you shouted : liar, scoun- 
drel, thief. . . .It's strange, but you are yet only 
learning to be a man and you have already im- 
bibed so much pettiness. When I shall raise my 
Hand to strike some one, your contempt will begin 
to whine: don't strike, leave him alone, have pity. 
Oh, if you could only hate ! No, you are a ter^Me 
egotist, old man." 

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Satan's Diary 

I shouted : 

' ' The devil take you with your harping on this 
egotism ! I am not in the least more stupid than 
you, you beast, and I cannot understand what 
you find so saintly in hatred !" 

Magnus frowned: 

" First of all: don't shout or I'll throw you out. 
Do you hear? Yes, perhaps you are no more 
stupid than I am, but man's business is not your 
business. Do you realize that, you beast? In 
blowing up things, I only intend to do business 
and you want to be the ruler of another's plant. 
Let them steal and break down the machinery and 
you you will be concerned only about your salary 
and the respect due you? And I I won't stand 
that ! All this, ' ' he swept the room with a broad 
gesture "is my plant, wvine, do you hear, and it 
is I who will be robbed. I will be robbed and in- 
jured. And I hate those who rob me. What 
would you have done, in the long run, with your 
billions, if I had not taken them from you ? Built 
conservatories and raised heirs for the perpetua- 
tion of your kind? Private yachts and diamonds 
for your wife? And I ... give me all the gold 
on earth and I will throw it all into the flames of 
my hatred. And all because I have been insulted ! 
W1 n you see a hunchback you throw him a lire. 
>So that he may continue to bear his hump, yes? 

222 



Satan's Diary 

And I want to destroy him, to kill him, to burn 
him like a crooked log. To whom do you appeal 
when you are fooled or when a dog bites your 
finger ? To your wife, the police, public opinion ? 
But suppose the wife, with the aid of your butler, 
plants horns on your head or public opinion fails 
to understand you and instead of pitying you pre- 
fers to give you a thrashing then do you make, 
your appeal to God? But I, I go to no one. I 
plead before no one, but neither do I forgive. You 
understand ? I do not forgive ! Only egotists for- 
give ! I consider myself personally insulted ! " 

I heard him in silence. Perhaps it was because 
I was so close to the fireplace, gazing into the fire 
and listening to Magnus's words, each new word 
intermingled with a fresh blaze of a burning log ; 
no sooner would the glowing red mass fall apart 
than the words, too, would break up into par- 
ticles, like hot coals. My head was not at all clear 
and, under the influence of these burning, flaming, 
flying words I fell into a strange, dark drowsiness. 
But this was what my memory retained : 

"Oh, if you could only hate ! If you were not so 
cowardly and weak of soul! I would take you 
with me and would let you behold a fire which 
would forever dry your miserable tears and burn 
your sentimental dreams to ashes! Do you hear 
the song of the fools of the world? They are 

223 



Satan's Diary 

merely loading the cannons. The wise man need 
only apply the fire to the fuse, you understand? 
Could you behold calmly the sight of a blissful 
sheep and hungry snake lying together, separated 
only by a thin partition? I could not! I would 
drill just a little opening, a little opening . . . 
the rest they would do themselves. Do you know 
that from the union of truth and falsehood comes 
an explosion ! I want to unite. I shall do nothing 
myself: I shall only complete what they have be- 
gun. Do you hear how merrily they sing? I will 
make them dance, too ! Come with me, comrade ! 
You sought some sort of a play let me give you 
an extraordinary spectacle! We shall bring the 
whole earth into action and millions of marion- 
ettes will begin to caper obediently at our com- 
mand: you know not yet how talented and oblig- 
ing they are. It will be a splendid play and will 
give you much pleasure and amusement. . . . ' 
A large log fell apart and split into many sparks 
and hot cinders. The. flame subsided, growing 
morose and red. A silent heat emanated from the 
dimmed, smoke-smeared hearth. It burned my 
face and suddenly there arose before me my pup- 
pets' show. The heat and fire had conjured up a 
mirage. I seemed to hear the crash of drums and 
the gay ring of cymbals, while the merry clown 
turned on his head at the sight of the broken 

224 



Satan's Diary 

skulls of the dolls. The broken heads continued 
to pile up. Then I saw the scrap heap, with two 
motionless little legs protruding from the heap of 
rubbish. They wore rose slippers. And the 
drums continued beating : tump-tump-tump. And 
I said pensively: 

"I think it will hurt them." 

And behind my back rang out the contemptuous 
and indifferent reply : 

" Quite possibly." 

"Tump-tump-tump. . . . " 

"It is all the same to you, Wondergood, but I 
cannot! Can't you see: I cannot permit every 
miserable biped to call himself a man. There are 
too many of them, already. They multiply like 
rabbits, under the stimulus of physicians and laws. 
Death, deceived, cannot handle them all. It is 
confused and seems to have lost its dignity and 
moral authority. It is wasting its time in dancing 
halls. I hate them. It has become repulsive to 
me to walk upon this earth, fallen into the power 
of a strange, strange species. We must suspend 
the law, at least temporarily, and let death have 
its fling. However, they themselves will see to 
this. No, not I, but they, will do it. Think not 
that I am particularly cruel, no I am only logi- 
cal. I am only the conclusion, the symbol of 
equality, the sum total, the line beneath the 

225 



Satan's Diary 

column of figures. You may call it Ergo, Mag- 
nus, Ergo ! They say : ' two and two ' and I reply : 
'four.' Exactly four. Imagine that the world 
has suddenly grown cold and immovable for a 
moment and you behold some such picture: here 
is a free and careless head and above it a sus- 
pended axe. Here is a mass of powder and here 
a spark about to fall upon it. But it has stopped 
and does not fall. Here is a heavy structure, set 
upon a single, undermined foundation. But ev- 
erything has grown rigid and the foundation 
holds. Here is a breast and here a hand aiming 
a bullet at it. Have I prepared all this? I 
merely touch the lever and press it down. The 
axe falls upon the laughing head and crushes it. 
The spark falls into the powder all is off ! The 
building crashes to the ground. The bullet pierces 
the ready breast. And I I have merely touched 
the lever, I, Magnus Ergo! Think: would I be 
able to kill had I at my disposal only violins or 
other musical instruments V 9 

I laughed : 

"Only violins!" 

Magnus replied with laughter: his voice was 
hoarse and heavy: 

"But they have other instruments, too! And I 
will use these instruments. See how simple and 
interesting all this is?" 

226 



Satan's Diary 

"And what further, Magnus Ergo! " 
"How do I know what's to follow? I see only 
this page and solve only this problem. I know 
not what the next page contains.'' 

"Perhaps it contains the same thing?" 
"Perhaps it does. And perhaps this is the 
final page . . . well, what of that : the sum total 
remains as is necessary." 

"You spoke on one occasion about miracles?" 
"Yes, that is my lever. You remember wha-t I 
told you about my explosive? I promise rab- 
bits to make lions of them. . . . You sqe, a rabbit 
cannot stan'd brains. Give a rabbit brains and he 
will hang himself. Melancholy will drive him to 
suicide. Brains implies logic and what can logic 
promise to a rabbit? Nothing but a sorry fate on 
a restaurant menu. What one must promise a 
rabbit is either immortality for a cheap price, as 
does Cardinal X. or heaven on earth. You will 
see what energy, what daring, etc., my rabbit 
will develop when I paint before him on the wall 
heavenly powers and gardens of Eden!" 
"On the wall?" 

"Yes, on a stone wall. He will storm it with 
all the power of his species! And who knows 
. . . who knows . . . perhaps this mass may 
really break through this stone wall?" 
Magnus lapsed into thought. I drew away from 
227 



Satan's Diary 

the now extinguished fire and looked upon the 
explosive head of my repulsive friend. . . . Some- 
thing naive, like two little wrinkles, almost like 
those of a child, lay upon his stony brow. I burst 
into laughter and shouted: 

' ' Thomas Magnus ! Thomas Ergo ! Do you be- 
lieve?" 

Without raising his head, as if he had not heard 
my laughter, he lifted his eyes and replied pen- 
sively : 

"We must try." 

But I continued to laugh: deep, wild appar- 
ently human laughing malice began to rise with- 
in me: 

"Thomas Magnus! Magnus Rabbit! Do you 
believe?" 

He thumped the table with his fist and roared 
in a wild transport : 

"Be quiet! I tell you: we must try. How do 
I know? I have never yet been on Mars nor seen 
this earth inside-out. Be silent, accursed egotist ! 
You know nothing of our affairs. Ah, if only you 
could hate! ..." 

"I hate already." 

Magnus suddenly laughed and grew strangely 
calm. He sat down and scrutinizing me from all 
possible angles, as if he did not believe me, he 
burst out: 

228" 



Satan's Diary 

"You? Hate? Whom?" 

"You." 

He looked me over as carefully again and shook 
his head in doubt: 

"Is that true, Wondergood?" 

"If they are rabbits, you are the most repulsive 
of them all, because you are a mixture of rabbit 
and . . . Satan. You are a coward! The fact 
that you are a crook, a thief, a liar, a murderer is 
not important. But you are a coward! That is 
important. I expected something more of you. I 
hoped your mind would lift you above the great- 
est crime, but you lift crime itself into some base 
philanthropy. You are as much of a lackey as 
the others. The only difference between you and 
them is that you have a perverted idea of 
service!" 

Magnus sighed. 

"No, that's not it. You understand nothing, 
Wondergood." 

"And what you lack is daring, my friend. If 
you are Magnus Ergo . . . what audacity: Mag- 
nus Ergo! then why don't you go the limit? 
Then, I, too, would follow you . . . perhaps ! 

"Will you really come?" 

"And why should I not come? Let me be Con- 
tempt, and you Hatred. We can go together. 
Do not fear lest I hang on to your coat tails. You 

229 



Satan's Diary 

have revealed much to me, my dear putridity, and 
I shall not seize your hand even though you raise 
it against yourself. " 

"Will you betray me?" 

' l And you will kill me. Is that not enough! ' ' 

But Magnus shook his head doubtfully and said : 

"You will betray me. I am a living human 
being, while you smell like a corpse. I do not 
want to have contempt for myself. If I do, I 
perish. Don 't you dare to look at me ! Look upon 
the others!" 

I laughed. 

"Very well. I shall not look at you. I will 
look at the rest. I will make it easier for you with 
my contempt." 

Magnus fell into prolonged thought. Then he 
looked again at me piercingly and quietly asked: 

"And Maria? ..." 

Oh, cursed wretch ! Again he hurled my heart 
upon the floor! I looked at him wildly, like one 
aroused at night by fire. And three big waves 
swept my breast. With the first wave rose the 
silent violins . . . ah, how they wailed, just as if 
the musician played not upon strings but upon 
my veins ! Then in a huge wave with foamy surf 
there rolled by all the images, thoughts and emo- 
tions of my recent, beloved human state : think of 
it : everything was there ! Even the lizzard that 

230 



Satan's Diary 

hissed at my feet that evening beneath the moon- 
light. I recalled even the little lizzard I And with 
the third wave there was rolled out quietly upon 
the shore the holy name: Maria. And just as 
quietly it receded, leaving behind a delicate lace 
of foam, and from beyond the sea burst forth the 
rays of the sun, and for a moment, for one, little 
moment, I again became a white schooner, with 
sails lowered. Where were the stars while await- 
ing the word of the Lord of the universe to break 
forth in all their brilliance I Madonna 1 

Magnus recalled me quietly. 

" Where are you going? She is not there. What 
do you want?" 

" Pardon me, dear Magnus, but I would like to 
see the Signorina Maria. Only for a moment. 
I don't feel quite well. There is something re- 
volving in my eyes and head. Are you smiling, 
dear Magnus, or does it only seem so to me? I 
have been gazing into the fire too long and I can 
hardly discern the objects before me. Did yon 
say: Maria? Yes, I would like to see her. Then 
we shall continue our interesting conversation. 
You will remind me just where we stopped, but 
meanwhile I would be extremely obliged to you, 
if we were ... to take a little drive into the 
Campagna. It is so sweet there. And Signoria 
Maria . . . " 

231 



Satan's Diary 

"Sit down. You will see her presently." 

But I continued to weave my nonsense what 
in the devil had happened to my head ! I prattled 
on for a considerable period and now the whole 
thing seems so ridiculous : Once or twice I pressed 
the heavy, motionless hand of Thomas Magnus: 
apparently he must have looked like my father 
at that moment. Finally, I subsided, partially re- 
gained my senses but, in obedience to Magnus' 
command, remained in my chair and prepared 
to listen. 

"Can you listen now? You are quite excited, 
old man. Eemember: the senses, the Senses !" 

"Yes, now I can go on. I ... remember ev- 
erything. Continue, old friend. I am all atten- 
tion." 

Yes, I recollected everything but it was quite 
immaterial to me just what Magnus said or what 
he might say : I was awaiting Maria, That is how 
strong my love was! Turning aside for some 
reason and beating time with his fingers on the 
table, Magnus said slowly and rather reluctantly : 

"Listen, Wondergood. In reality, it would be 
much more convenient for me to throw you out 
into the street, you and your idiotic Toppi. You 
wanted to experience all human life and I would 
have viewed with pleasure any efforts on your 
part to earn your own bread. You are apparently 

232 



Satan's Diary 

no longer used to this? It would also have been 
very interesting to know what would become of 
your grandiose contempt whem . . . But I am 
not angry. Strange to say, I even nurse a feeling 
of thankfulness for your . . . billions. And I 
am rather hopeful. Yes, I still have a little hope 
that some day you may really grow to be a man. 
And while this may prove an impediment to me, I 
am ready to take you with me, but only after a 
certain test. Are you still anxious to have . . . 
Maria !" 

"Yes." 

"Very well" 

Magnus rose with effort and moved toward the 
door. But he halted for a moment and turned 
toward me and surprising as it was on the part 
of this scoundrel he kissed my brow. 

"Sit down, old man. I will call her immediately. 
The servants are all out to-day." 

He uttered the last sentence as he knocked 
feebly at the door. The head of one of his aides 
appeared for a moment and immediately with- 
drew. With apparently the same effort Magnus 
returned to his place and said with a sigh: 

"She will be here at once." 

We were silent. I fixed my eyes upon the tall 
door and it opened wide. Maria entered. With 

233 



Satan's Diary 

a quick step I moved to greet her and bowed low. 
Magnus shouted: 

4 * Don't kiss that hand!" 

May 27. 

I could not continue these notes yesterday. 
Do not laugh ! This mere combination of words : 
do not kiss that hand! seemed to me the most 
terrible utterance the human tongue was capable 
of. It acted upon me like a magic curse. When 
I recall those words now they interrupt every- 
thing I do and befog my whole being, trans- 
porting me into a new state. If I happen to be 
speaking I grow silent, as if suddenly stricken 
dumb. If I happen to be walking, I halt. If 
standing, I run. If I happen to be asleep, no mat- 
ter how deep my slumber, I awake and cannot fall 
asleep again. Very simple, extremely simple 
words: Do not kiss that hand! 

And now listen to what happened further: 
And so: I bowed over Maria's hand. But so 
strange and sudden was Magnus 9 cry, so great 
was the command in his hoarse voice, that it was 
impossible to disobey. It was as if he had stopped 
a blind man on the edge of a precipice! But I 
failed to grasp his meaning and raised my head 
in perplexity, still holding Maria's hand in mine, 
and looked at Magnus. He was breathing heav- 

234 



Satan's Diary 

ily, as if he had actually witnessed my fall into the 
abyss and in reply to my questioning look, he 
said in a stifled tone: 

"Let her hand alone. Maria get away from 
him." 

Maria released her hand and stepped aside, at a 
distance from me. Still perplexed I watched her, 
standing alone! I tried to grasp the situation. 
For a brief moment it seemed even extremely 
ludicrous and reminded me of a scene in a comedy, 
in which the angry father comes unexpectedly 
upon the sweethearts, but my silly laughter died 
away immediately and in obedient expectation I 
raised my eyes to Magnus. 

Magnus hesitated. Rising with an effort, he 
twice paced the length of the room and halting 
before me, with his hands clasped behind him, 
said: 

"With all your eccentricities, you're a decent 
man, Wondergood. I have robbed you (that was 
how he put it) but I can no longer permit you to 
kiss the hand of this woman. Listen ! Listen ! I 
have already told you you must change your out- 
look upon men. I know it is very difficult and I 
sympathize with you, but it is essential that you 
do it, old friend. Listen ! Listen ! I misled you : 
Maria is not my daughter ... I have no chil- 
dren. Neither is she a ... Madonna. She is 

235 



Satan's Diary 

my mistress and she was that as recently as last 
night. . . ." 

Now I understand that Magnus was merciful 
in his own way and was intentionally submerging 
me slowly into darkness. But at that time I did not 
realize this and slowly stifling, my breath gradu- 
ally dying, I lost consciousness. And when with 
Magnus ' last words the light fled from me and 
impenetrable night enveloped my being, I whip- 
ped out my revolver and fired at Magnus several 
times in succession. I do not know how many 
shots I fired. I remember only a series of laugh- 
ing, flickering flames and the movements of nrtf 
hand, pushing the weapon forward. I cannot re-i 
member at all how and when his aides rushed in, 
and disarmed me. When I regained my senses 
this was the picture I saw: the aides were gone. 
I was sitting deep in my chair before the dark 
fireplace, my hair was wet, while above my lef| 
eyebrow there was a bandage soaked in blood. 
My collar was gone and my shirt was torn, my 
left sleeve was almost entirely torn off, so that I 
had to keep jerking it up constantly. Maria stood 
on the same spot, in the same pose, as if she had 
not moved at all during the struggle. I was sur- 
prised to see Toppi, who sat in a corner and gazed 
at me strangely. At the table, with his back to 

236 



Satan*s Diary 

me, stood Magnus, He was pouring out some 
wine for himself. 

When I heaved a particularly deep sigh, Mag- 
nus turned quickly and said in a strangely famil- 
iar tone : 

"Do you want some wine, Wondergood? You 
may have a glass now. Here, drink. . . . You see 
you failed to hit me. I do not know whether to be 
glad or not, but I am alive. To your health, old 
man!" 

I touched my brow with my finger and mumbled : 

"Blood. . . ." 

"A mere trifle, just a little scratch. It won't 
matter. Don't touch it." 

"It smells." 

"With powder? Yes, that'll soon pass, too. 
Toppi is here. Do you see him? He asked permis- 
sion to stay here. You won't object if your sec- 
retary remains while we continue our conversa- 
tion? He is extremely devoted to you." 

I looked at Toppi and smiled. Toppi made a 
grimace and sighed gently: 

"Mr. Wondergood! It is I, your Toppi." 

And he burst into tears. This old devil, still 
emitting the odor of fur, this old clown in black, 
this sexton with hanging nose, this seducer of 
little girls burst into tears ! But still worse was 
it when, blinking my eyes, I, too, began to weep, 

237 



Satan's Diary 

I, ' i the wise, immortal, almighty ! ' ' Thus we both 
wept, two deceived devils who happened to drop 
in upon this earth, and human beings I am 
happy to give them their due! looked on with 
deep sympathy for our tears. Weeping and 
laughing at the same time, I asked: 
"It's difficult to be a man, Toppil" 
And Toppi, sobbing, replied obediently: 
"Very difficult, Mr. Wondergood. ' ' 
But here I happened to look at Maria and my 
sentimental tears immediately dried. In general, 
that evening is memorable for the sudden and 
ludicrous transformations of my moods. You 
probably know them, old man? Now I wept and 
beat the lyre, like a weeping post, now I became 
permeated with a stony calm and a sense of un- 
conquerable power, or I began to chatter non- 
sense, like a parrot scared to death by a dog, and 
kept up my chatter, louder, sillier and more and 
more unbearable, until a new mood bore me off 
into a deep and inexpressible sadness. Magnus 
caught my look at Maria and smiled involuntarily. 
I adjusted the collar of my torn shirt and said 
dryly : 

"I do not know whether to be glad or sorry that 
I failed to kill you, old friend. I am quite calm 
now, however, and would like you to tell me every- 
thing about . . . that woman. But as you are a 

238 



Satan's Diary 

liar, let me question her first. Signorina Maria, 
you were my bride? And in a few days I hoped 
to call you my wife. But tell me the truth: are 
you really . . . this man's mistress ?" 

"Yes, signer." 

"And. . .how long?" 

"Five years, signer." 

"And how old are you now." 

"Nineteen, signer." 

"That means you were fourteen. . . . Now you 
may continue, Magnus." 

"Oh, my God!" 

(It was Toppi who exclaimed.) 

"Sit down, Maria. As you see, Wondergood," 
began Magnus in a dry and calm tone, as if he 
were demonstrating not himself but some sort of 
a chemical compound "this mistress of mine is 
quite an extraordinary phenomenon. With all her 
unusual resemblance to the Madonna, capable of 
deceiving men better versed than you or I in re- 
ligion, with all her really unearthly beauty, chas- 
tity and charm she is a licentious and quite 
shameless creature, ready to sell herself from 
head to foot. ..." 

"Magnus!" 

"Calm yourself. You see how she listens to 
me? Even your old Toppi is cringing and blush- 
ing while she her gaze is clear and all her f eat- 

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Satan's Diary 

ures are filled with placid harmony . . . did you 
notice how clear Maria's gaze is? Do you hear 
me?" 

"Yes, certainly." 

66 Would you like wine or an orange? Take it. 
There it is on the table. Incidentally, observe her 
graceful walk: she seems to be always stepping 
lightly as if on flowers or clouds. What extra- 
ordinary beauty and litheness! As an old lover 
of hers, r may also add the following detail which 
you have not learned yet: she herself, her body, 
has the fragrance of some flowers. Now as to her 
spiritual qualities, as the psychologists put it. If I 
were to speak of them in ordinary language, I 
would say she was as stupid as a goose, quite a 
hopeless fool. But she is cunning. And a liar. 
Very avaricious as regards money but she likes it 
only in gold. Everything she told you she learned 
from me, memorizing the more difficult lines. . . . 
and I had quite a task in teaching her. But I 
feared all the time that, despite your love, you 
would be struck by her apparent lack of brains 
and that is why I kept her from you the last few 
days." 

Toppi sobbed : 

"Oh, God! Madonna!" 

"Does this astonish you, Mr. Toppi?" Mag- 
nus asked, turning his head. "I dare say you are 

240 



Satan's Diary 

not alone. Do you remember, Wondergood, what 
I told you about Maria's fatal resemblance, which 
drove one young man to suicide. I did not lie to 
you altogether : the youth actually did kill himself 
when he realized who Maria really was. He was 
pure of soul. He loved as you do and as you he 
could not bear how do you put it? the wreck of 
his ideal. " 

Magnus laughed : 

"Do you remember Giovanni, Maria? " 

"Slightly." 

"Do you hear, "Wondergood ?" asked Magnus, 
laughing. ' ' That is exactly the tone in which she 
would have spoken of me a week hence if you 
had killed me to-day. Have another orange, Maria. 
. . . But if I were to speak of Maria in extraordi- 
nary language she is not at all stupid. She 
simply doesn't happen to have what is called a 
soul. I have frequently tried to look deep into her 
heart and thoughts and I have always ended in 
vertigo, as if I had been hurled to the edge of an 
abyss : there was nothmg there. Emptiness. You 
have probably observed, Wondergood, or you, Mr. 
Toppi, that ice is not as cold as the brow of a 
dead man 1 And no matter what emptiness famil- 
iar to you you may imagine, my friends, it cannot 
be compared with that absolute vacuum which 
forms the kernel of my beautiful, light-giving star. 

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Satan's Diary 

Star of the Seas! that was what you once called 
her, Wondergood, was it not?" 

Magnus laughed again and gulped down a glass 
of wine. He drank a great deal that evening. 

"Will you have some wine, Mr. Toppi? No? 
Well, suit yourself. I'll take some. So that is 
why, Mr. Wondergood, I did not want you to kiss 
the hand of that creature. Don't turn your eyes 
away, old friend. Imagine you are in a museum 
and look straight at her, bravely. Did you wish 
to say something, Toppi?" 

"Yes, Signor Magnus. Pardon me, Mr. Won- 
dergood, but I would like to ask your permission 
to leave. As a gentleman, although not much of 
that, I ... cannot remain ... at ..." 

Magnus narrowed his eyes derisively: 

"At such a scene V 9 

"Yes, at such a scene, when one gentleman, with 
the silent approval of another gentleman, insults 
a woman like that/' exclaimed Toppi, extremely 
irritated, and rose. Magnus, just as ironically, 
turned to me : 

1 ' And what do you say, Wondergood I Shall we 
release this little, extremely little, gentleman?" 

"Stay, Toppi." 

Toppi sat down obediently. 

From the moment Magnus resumed, I, for the 
first time, regained my breath and looked at Maria. 

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Satan's Diary 

What shall I say to you? It was Maria. And 
here I understood a little what happens in one's 
brain when one begins to go mad. 

' ' May I continue ? ' ' asked Magnus. ' ' However, 
I have little to add. Yes, I took her when she was 
fourteen or fifteen years old. She herself does not 
know how old she really is, but I was not her first 
lover . . . nor the tenth. I could never learn her 
past exactly. She either lies cunningly or is actu- 
ally devoid of memory. But even the most subtle 
questioning, which even a most expert criminal 
could not dodge, neither bribes nor gifts, nor 
threats and she is extremely cowardly! could 
compel her to reveal herself. She does not ' re- 
member.' That's all. But her deep licentious- 
ness, enough to shame the Sultan himself, her 
extraordinary experience and daring in ars 
amandi confirms my suspicion that she received 
her training in a lupanaria or ... or at the court 
of some Nero. I do not know how old she is and 
she seems to change constantly. Why should I 
not say that she is 20 or 2000 years old ! Maria . . . 
you can do everything and you know every- 
thing!" 

I did not look at that woman. But in her answer 
there was a slight displeasure : 

"Don't talk nonsense. What will Mr. Wonder- 
good think of me?" 

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Satan's Diary 

Magnus broke into loud laughter and struck the 
table with is glass : 

"Do your hear, Wondergood? She covets your 
good opinion. And if I should command her to 
undress at once in your presence. ..." 

"Oh, my God! My God !" sobbed Toppi and 
covered his face with his hands. I glanced quickly 
into Magnus' eyes and remained rigid in the 
terrible enchantment of his gaze. His face was 
laughing. This pale mask of his was still lined 
with traces of faint laughter but the eyes were 
dim and inscrutable. Directed upon me, they 
stared off somewhere into the distance and were 
horrible in their expression of dark and empty 
madness : only the empty orbits of a skull could 
gaze so threateningly and in such wrath. 

And again darkness filled my head and when I 
regained my senses Magnus had already turned 
and calmly sipped his wine. Without changing 
his position, he raised his glass to the light, 
smelled the wine, sipped some more of it and said 
as calmly as before : 

"And so, Wondergood, my friend. Now you 
know about all there is to know of Maria or the 
Madonna, as you called her, and I ask you: will 
you take her or not ? I give her away. Take her. 
If you say yes, she will be in your bedroom to-day 
and ... I swear by eternal salvation, you will 

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Satan's Diary 

pass a very pleasant night. Well, what do you 
Bay!" 

"Yesterday, you, and to-day, If" 

" Yesterday I, to-day, you." He smiled: 
"What kind of man are you, Wondergood, to 
speak of such trifles. Or aren't you used to hav- 
ing some one else warm your bed? Take her. 
She is a fine girl." 

"Whom are you torturing, Magnus: me or 
yourself?" 

Magnus looked at me ironically : 

"What a wise boy! Of course, myself! You are 
a very clever American, Mr. Wondergood, and I 
wonder why your career has been so mediocre. 
Go to bed, dear children. Good night. What are 
you looking at, Wondergood : do you find the hour 
too early? If so, take her out for a walk in the 
garden. When you see Maria beneath the moon- 
night, 3000 Magnuses will be unable to prove that 
this heavenly maiden is the same creature 
who . , . 

I flared up: 

"You are a disgusting scoundrel and liar, 
Thomas Magnus ! If she has received her train- 
ing in a lupanaria, then you, my worthy signor, 
must have received your higher education in the 
penitentiary. Whence comes that aroma which 
permeates so thoroughly your gentlemanly jokes 

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Satan's Diary 

and witticisms. The sight of your pale face is 
beginning to nauseate me. After enticing a woman 
in the fashion of a petty, common hero. . . . " 

Magnus struck the table with his fist. His 
bloodshot eyes were aflame. 

"Silence! You are an inconceivable ass, Won- 
dergood! Don't you understand that I myself, 
like you, was deceived by her! Who, meeting 
Madonna, can escape deception? Oh devil ! What 
are the sufferings of your little, shallow American 
soul in comparison with the pangs of mine? Oh 
devil! Witticism, jests, gentlemen and ladies, 
asses and tigers, gods and devils ! Can't you see : 
this is not a woman, this is an eagle who daily 
plucks my liver ! My suffering begins in the morn- 
ing. Each morning, oblivious to what passed the 
day before, I see Madonna before me and believe. 
I think: what happened to me yesterday? Ap- 
parently, I must be mistaken or did I miss any- 
thing? It is impossible that this clear gaze, this 
divine walk, this pure countenance of Madonna 
should belong to a prostitute. It is your soul that 
is vile, Thomas Magnus : she is as pure as a host. 
And there were occasions when, on my knees, I 
actually begged forgiveness of this creature ! Can 
you imagine it : on my knees ! Then it was that I 
was really a scoundrel, Wondergood. I idealized 
her, endowed her with my thoughts and feelings 

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Satan's Diary 

and was overjoyed, like an idiot. I almost wept 
with felicity when she mumblingly repeated what 
I would say. Like a high priest I painted my idol 
and then knelt before it in intoxication! But 
the truth proved stronger at last. With each 
moment, with each hour, falsehood slipped off her 
body, so that, toward night, I even beat her. I 
beat her and wept. I beat her cruelly as does a 
procurer his mistress. And then came night with 
its Babylonian licentiousness, the sleep of the dead 
and oblivion. And then morning again. And 
again Madonna. And again ... oh, devil! Over 
night my faith again grew, as did the liver of 
Prometheus, and like a bird of prey she tortured 
me all day. I, too, am human, Wondergood ! ' ' 

Shivering as if with cold, Magnus began to pace 
the room rapidly, gazed into the dark fireplace 
and approached Maria. Maria lifted her clear 
gaze to him, as if in question, while Magnus 
stroked her head carefully and gently, as he would 
that of a parrot or a cat : 

1 1 What a little head! What a sweet, little 
head. . . . Wondergood! Come, caress it!" 

I drew up my torn sleeve and asked ironically: 

"And it is this bird of prey that you now wish 
to give to me? Have you exhausted your feed? 
You want my liver, too, in addition to my bil- 
lions?" 

247 



Satan's Diary 

But Magnus had already calmed himself. Sub- 
duing his excitement and the drunkenness which 
had imperceptibly come upon him, he returned to 
his place without haste and ordered politely : 

6 ' I will answer you in a moment, Mr. "Wonder- 
good. Please withdraw to your room Maria, I 
have something to say to Mr. "Wondergood. And 
I would ask you, too, my honorable Mr. Toppi, to 
depart. You may join my friends in the salon." 

"If Mr. Wondergood will so command. . . ." 
replied Toppi, dryly, without rising. 

I nodded and, without looking at Magnus, my 
secretary obediently made his exit. Maria, too, 
left the room. To tell the truth, I again felt like 
clinging to his vest and weeping in the first few 
moments of my tete-a-tete with Magnus : after all, 
this thief was my friend! But I satisfied myself 
with merely swallowing my tears. Then followed 
a moment of brief desperation at the departure of 
Maria. And slowly, as if from the realm of re- 
mote recollection, blind and wild anger and the 
need of beating and destroying began to fill my 
heart. Let me add, too, that I was extremely pro- 
voked by my torn sleeve that kept slipping con- 
stantly : it was necessary for me to be stern and 
austere and this made me seem ridiculous . . . 
ah, on what trifles does the result of the greatest 
events depend on this earth 1 I lighted a cigar and 

248 



Satan's 

with studied gruffness hurled into the calm and 
hateful face of Magnus : 

"Now, you! Enough of comedy and charlatan- 
ism. Tell me what you want. So you want me to 
surrender to that bird of prey of yours f " 

Magnus replied calmly, although his eyes were 
burning with anger : 

"Yes. That is the trial I wanted to subject you 
to, Wondergood. I fear that I have succumbed 
slightly to the emotion of useless and vain revenge 
and spoke more heatedly than was necessary in 
Maria's presence. The thing is, Wondergood, 
that all that I have so picturesquely described to 
you, all this passion and despair and all these 
sufferings of ... Prometheus really belong to the 
past. I now look upon Maria without pain and 
even with a certain amount of pleasure, as upon 
a beautiful and useful little beast . . . useful for 
domestic considerations. You understand f What 
after all, is the liver of Prometheus? It is all 
nonsense! In reality, I should be thankful to 
Maria. She gnawed out with her little teeth my 
silly faith and gave me that clear, firm and real- 
istic outlook upon life which permits of no decep- 
tions and . . . sentimentalisms. You, too, ought 
to experience and grasp it, Wondergood, if you 
would follow Magnus Ergo." 

I remained silent, lazily chewing my cigar. 
249 



Satan's Diary 

Magnus lowered his eyes and continued still more 
calmly and dryly: 

"Desert pilgrims, to accustom themselves to 
death, used to sleep in coffins : let Maria be your 
coffin and when you feel like going to church, kiss- 
ing a woman and stretching your hand to a friend, 
just look at Maria and her father, Thomas Mag- 
nus. Take her, "Wondergood, and you will soon 
convince yourself of the value of my gift. I don't 
need her any longer. And when your humiliated 
soul shall become inflamed with truly inextin- 
guishable, human hatred and not with weak con- 
tempt, come to me and I shall welcome you into 
the ranks of my yeomanry, which will very 
soon. . . . Are you hesitating? Well, then go, 
catch other lies, but be careful to avoid scoundrels 
and Madonnas, my gentleman from Illinois !" 

He broke into loud laughter and swallowed a 
glass of wine at one gulp. His swollen calm evap- 
orated. Little flames of intoxication, now merry, 
now ludicrous, like the lights of a carnival, now 
triumphant, now dim, like funeral torches at a 
grave, again sprang forth in his bloodshot eyes. 
The scoundrel was drunk but held himself firmly, 
merely swaying his branches, like an oak before a 
south wind. Eising and facing me, he straightened 
his body cynically, as if trying to reveal himself in 
his entirety, and well nigh spat these words at me : 

250 



Satan's Diary 

"Well? How long do you intend to think about 
it, you ass? Come, quick, or I'll kick you out! 
Quick! I'm tired of you! What's the use of my 
wasting words? What are you thinking of?" 

My head buzzed. Madly pulling up that ac- 
cursed sleeve of mine, I replied : 

"I am thinking that you are an evil, contempt- 
ible, stupid and repulsive beast ! I am thinking in 
what springs of life or hell itself I could find for 
you the punishment you deserve! Yes, I came 
upon this earth to play and to laugh. Yes, I my- 
self was ready to embrace any evil. I myself lied 
and pretended, but you, hairy worm, you crawled 
into my very heart and bit me. You took advan- 
tage of the fact that my heart was human and bit 
me, you hairy worm. How dared you deceive me ? 
I will punish you." 

"You? Me?" 

I am glad to say that Magnus was astonished 
and taken aback. His eyes widened and grew 
round and his open mouth naively displayed a set 
of white teeth. Breathing with difficulty, he re- 
peated : 

"You? Me?" 

"Yes. I you." 

"Police?" 

"You are not afraid of it? Very well. Let all 
your courts be powerless, remain unpunished on 

251 



Satan's Diary 

this earth, you evil conscienceless creature! The 
day will come when the sea of falsehood, which 
constitutes your life, will part and all your false- 
hood, too, will give way and disappear. Let there 
be no foot upon this earth to crush you, hairy 
worm. Let ! I, too, am powerless here. But the 
day will come when you will depart from this 
earth. And when you come to Me and fall under 
the shadow of my kingdom. ..." 

' ' Your kingdom ? Hold on, "Wondergood. Who 
are you, then?" 

And right at this point there occurred the most 
shameful event of my entire earthly life. Tell me : 
is it not ridiculously funny when Satan, even in 
human form, bends his knee in prayer to a prosti- 
tute and is stripped naked by the very first man 
he meets? Yes, this is extremely ridiculous and 
shameful of Satan, who bears with him the breath 
of eternity. But what would you say of Satan 
when he turned into a powerless and pitiful liar 
and pasted upon his head with a great flourish the 
paper crown of a theatrical czar? I am ashamed, 
old man. Give me one of your blows, the kind on 
which you feed your friends and hired clowns. Or 
has this torn sleeve brought me to this senseless, 
pititful wrath? Or was this the last act of my 
human masquerade, when man's spirit descends to 
the mire and sweeps the dust and dirt with its 

252 



Satan's Diary 

breath? Or has the ruin of Madonna, which I 
witnessed, dragged Satan, too, into the same 
abyss? 

But this was think of it! this was what I 
answered Magnus. Thrusting out my chest, barely 
covered with my torn shirt, stealthily pulling up 
my sleeve, so that it might not slip off entirely, 
and looking sternly and angrily directly into the 
stupid, and as they seemed to me, frightened eyes 
of the scoundrel Magnus, I replied triumphantly: 

"I am Satan !" 

Magnus was silent for a moment and then 
broke out into all the laughter that a drunken, 
repulsive, human belly can contain. Of course 
you, old man, expected that, but I did not. I swear 
by eternal salvation, I did not ! I shouted some- 
thing but the brazen laughter of this beast 
drowned my voice. Finally, taking advantage of 
a moment's interval between his thundering peals 
of laughter, I exclaimed quickly and modestly . . . 
like a footnote at the bottom of a page, like a com- 
mentary of a publisher: 

" Don't you understand: I am Satan. I have 
donned the human form! I have donned the 
human form ! ' ' 

He heard me with his eyes bulging, and with 
fresh thunderous roars of laughter, the outbursts 

253 



Satan's Diary 

shaking his entire frame, he moved toward the 
door, flung it open and shouted : 

' i Here ! Come here ! Here is Satan ! In human 
.... human garb!" 

And he disappeared behind the door. 

Oh, if I could only have fallen through the floor, 
disappeared or flown away, like a real devil, on 
wings, in that endless moment, during which he 
was gathering the public for an extraordinary 
spectacle. And now they came all of them, damn 
them: Maria and all the six aides and my miser- 
able Toppi, and Magnus himself, and completing 
the procession His Eminence, Cardinal X. ! The 
cursed, shaven monkey walked with great dignity 
and even bowed to me, after which he sat down, 
just as dignified, in an armchair and carefully 
covered his knees with his robes. All were won- 
dering, not knowing yet what it was all about, and 
glanced now at me and now at Magnus, who tried 
hard to look serious. 

"What's the trouble, Signor Magnus?" asked 
the Cardinal in a benevolent tone. 

" Permit me to report the following, your Emi- 
nence : Mr. Henry Wondergood has just informed 
me that he is Satan. Yes, Satan, and that he has 
merely donned the human form. And thus our 
assumption that he is an American from Illinois 
falls. Mr. Wondergood is Satan and apparently 

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Satan's Diary 

has but recently deigned to arrive from Hell. 
What shall we do about it, Your Eminence ?" 

Silence might have saved me. But how could I 
restrain this maddened Wondergood, whose heart 
was aflame with insult? Like a lackey who has 
appropriated his celebrated master's name and 
who faintly senses something of his grandeur, 
power and connections Wondergood stepped for- 
ward and said with an ironic bow : 

" Yes, I am Satan. But I must add to the speech 
of Signor Magnus that not only do I wear the 
human form but also that I have been robbed. 
Are those two scoundrels who have robbed me 
known to you, Your Eminence 1 And are you, per- 
haps, one of them, Your Eminence?' ' 

Magnus alone continued to smile. The rest, it 
seemed to me, grew serious and awaited the Car- 
dinal's reply. It followed. The shaven monkey, 
it developed, was not a bad actor. Pretending to 
be startled, the Cardinal raised his right hand and 
said with an expression of extreme goodness, con- 
trasting sharply with his words and gesture : 

"VadePetro Satanas!" 

I am hot going to describe to you how they 
laughed. You can imagine it. Even Maria's teeth 
parted slightly. Almost losing consciousness from 
anger and impotence, I turned to Toppi for sym- 
pathy and aid. But Toppi, covering his face with 

255 



Satan's Diary 

his hands, was cringing in the corner, silent. Amid 
general laughter, and ringing far above it, came 
the heavy voice of Magnus, laden with infinite 
ridicule : 

"Look at the plucked rooster. That is Satan ! ' ' 
And again there came an outburst of laugh- 
ter. His Eminence continuously shook, as though 
flapping his wings, and choked and whined. The 
monkey's gullet could hardly pass the cascades of 
laughter. I tore off that accursed sleeve madly 
and waving it like a flag, I ventured into a sea of 
falsehood, with full sails set. I knew that some- 
where ahead there were rocks against which I 
might be shattered but the tempest of impotence 
and anger bore me on like a chip of wood. 

I am ashamed to repeat my speech here. Every 
word of it was trembling and wailing with impo- 
tency. Like a village vicar, frightening his igno- 
rant parishioners, I threatened them with Hell and 
with all the Dantean tortures of literary fame. 
Oh, I did know something that I might really have 
frightened them with but how could I express the 
extraordinary which is inexpressible in their lan- 
guage? And so I prattled on of eternal fire. Of 
eternal torture. Of unquenchable thirst. Of the 
gnashing of teeth. Of the fruitlessness of tears 
and pleading. And what else? Ah, even of red 
hot forks I prattled, maddened more and more by 

256 



Satan's Diary 

the indifference and shamelessness of these shal- 
low faces, these small eyes, these mediocre souls, 
regarding themselves above punishment. But 
they remained unmoved and smug, as if in a for- 
tress, beyond the walls of their mediocrity and 
fatal blindness. And all my words were shattered 
against their impenetrable skulls! And think of 
it, the only one who was really frightened was my 
Toppi ! And yet he alone could know that all my 
words were lies ! It was so unbearably ridiculous 
when I met his pleading frightened eyes, that I 
abruptly ended my speech, suddenly, at its very 
climax. Silently, I waved my torn sleeve, which 
served me as a standard, once or twice, and hurled 
it into the corner. For a moment it seemed to me 
that the shaven monkey, too, was frightened : the 
blue of his cheeks seemed to stand out sharply 
upon the pale, square face and the little coals of 
his eyes were glowing suspiciously beneath his 
black, bushy eyebrows. But he slowly raised his 
hand and the same sacrilegiously-jesting voice 
broke the general silence : 

"Vade Petro Satanas!" 

Or did the Cardinal try to hide behind this jest 
his actual fright I I do not know. I know nothing, 
If I could not destroy them, like Sodom and Go- 
morrah, is it worth while speaking of cold shivers 

257 



Satan's Diary 

and goose flesh? A mere glass of wine can con- 
quer them. 

And Magnus, like the skilled healer of souls that 
he was, said calmly: 

"Will you have a glass of wine, Your Emi- 
nence?'' 

"With pleasure," replied the Cardinal. 

"But none for Satan," added Magnus jestingly, 
pouring out the wine. But he could speak and do 
anything he pleased now: Wondergood was 
squeezed dry and hung like a rag upon the arm of 
the chair. 

After the wine had been drunk, Magnus lit a 
cigarette (he smokes cigarettes), cast his eye over 
the audience, like a lecturer before a lecture, mo- 
tioned pleasantly to Toppi, now grown quite pale, 
and said the following . . . although he was ob- 
viously drunk and his eyes were bloodshot, his 
voice was firm and his speech flowed with meas- 
ured calm : 

"I must say, Wondergood, that I listened to 
you very attentively and your passionate tirade 
created upon me, I may say, a great, artistic im- 
pression ... at certain points you reminded me 
of the best passages of Brother Geronimo Savan- 
arola. Don't you also find the same striking re- 
semblance, Your Eminence f But alas ! You are 
slightly behind the times. Those threats of hell 

258 



Satan's Diary 

and eternal torture with which you might have 
driven the beautiful and merry Florence to panic 
ring extremely unconvincing in the atmosphere of 
contemporary Eome. The sinners have long since 
departed from the earth, Mr. Wondergood. Have 
not you noticed that? And as for criminals, and. 
as you have expressed it, scoundrels, a plain 
commissary of police is much more alarming to 
them than Beelzebub himself with his whole staff 
of devils. I must also confess that your reference 
to the court of history and posterity was rather 
strange when contrasted with the picture you 
painted of the tortures of hell and your reference 
to eternity. But here, too, you failed to rise to the 
height of contemporary thought: every fool now- 
adays knows that history records with equal im- 
partiality both the names of saints and of rogues. 
The whole point, Mr. Wondergood, which you, as 
an American, should be particularly familiar with, 
is in the scope with which history treats its re- 
spective subjects and heroes. The lashings his- 
tory administers to its great criminals differ but 
little from her laurels when viewed at a distance 
and this little distinction eventually becomes quite 
invisible I assure you, Wondergood. In fact, it 
disappears entirely! And in so far as the biped 
strives to find a place in history and we are all 
animated by this desire, Mr. Wondergood it 

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need not be particular through which door it 
enters : I beg the indulgence of His Eminence, but 
no prostitute received a new guest with greater 
welcome than does history a new . . . hero. I fear, 
Wondergood, that your references to hell as well 
as those to history have fallen flat. Ah, I fear 
your hope in the police will prove equally ill- 
founded : I have failed to tell you that His Emi- 
nence has received a certain share of those bil- 
lions which you have transferred to me in such a 
perfectly legal manner, while his connections . . . 
you understand f ' ' 

Poor Toppi: all he could do was to keep on 
blinking ! The aides broke into loud laughter, but 
the Cardinal mumbled angrily, casting upon me 
the burning little coals of his eyes : 

"He is indeed a brazen fellow. He said he is 
Satan. Throw him out, Signor Magnus. This is 
sacrilege ! ' ' 

"Is that so?" smiled Magnus politely: "I did 
not know that Satan, too, belonged to the heavenly 
chair. . . ." 

"Satan is a fallen angel," said the Cardinal in 
an instructive tone. 

"And as such he is in your service? I under- 
stand," Magnus bowed his head politely in accept- 
ance of this truth and turned smilingly to me: 

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"Do you hear, Wondergood? His Eminence is 
irritated by your audacity." 

I was silent. Magnus winked at me slyly and 
continued with an air of artificial importance : 

"I believe, Your Eminence, that there must be 
some sort of misunderstanding here. I know the 
modesty and well-informed mind of Mr. Wonder- 
good and I suppose that he utilized the name of 
Satan merely as an artistic gesture. Does Satan 
ever threaten people with the police? But my un- 
fortunate friend did. And, in general, has any- 
body ever seen such a Satan f " 

He stretched his hand out to me in an effective 
gesture and the reply to this was another out- 
burst of laughter. The Cardinal, too, laughed, 
and Toppi alone shook his wise head, as if to say: 

"Idiots!" . . . 

I think Magnus must have noticed that. Or else 
he fell into intoxication. Or was it because that 
spirit of murder with which his soul was aflame 
could not remain passive and was tearing at the 
leash. He threateningly shook his heavy, explo- 
sive head and shouted : 

" Enough of this laughter! It is silly. Why 
are you so sure of yourselves? It is stupid, I tell 
you. I believe in nothing and that is why I admit 
everything. Press my hand, Wondergood: they 
are all fools and I am quite ready to admit that 

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Satan's Diary 

you are Satan. Only you have fallen into a bad 
mess, friend Satan. Because it will not save you. 
I will soon throw you out anyhow! Do you 
hear . . . devil?" 

He shook his finger at me threateningly and 
then lapsed into thought, dropping his head low 
and heavily, with his red eyes ablaze, like those 
of a bull, ready to hurl himself upon his enemy. 
The aides and the insulted Cardinal were silent 
with confusion. Magnus again shook his finger at 
me significantly and said : 

"If you are Satan, then you've come here too 
late. Do you understand? What did you come 
here for, anyway? To play, you say? To tempt? 
To laugh at us human beings? To invent some 
sort of a new, evil game? To make us dance to 
your tune? Well, you're too late. You should 
have come earlier, for the earth is grown now and 
no longer needs your talents. I speak not of my- 
self, who deceived you so easily and took away 
your money: I, Thomas Ergo. I speak not of 
Maria. But look at these modest little friends of 
mine : where in your hell will you find such charm- 
ing, fearless devils, ready for any task? And yet 
they are so small, they will not even find a place 
in history." 

It was after this that Thomas Magnus blew me 
up, in the holy city of Eome, in the Palazzo Orsini, 

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Satan's Diary 

when I still belonged to the American billionaire, 
Henry Wondergood. Do you remember that 
genial American with his cigar and patent gold 
teeth? Alas! He is no longer with us. He died 
suddenly and you will do well if you order a 
requiem mass for him : his Illinois soul is in need 
of your prayers. 

Let us receive the last breath of Henry Won- 
dergood, blown up by the culprit Thomas Magnus, 
and buried by Maria in the evening, when the 
moon was shining brightly. 



THE END 



263 



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